October 5, 2006

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Grayson Capps, Wail & Ride
Hyena Records, 2006

Our Scraggly Biker-Folkie Dude Desk is down the hall, but since Grayson Capps’ CD is an unrotten thing to talk about we may as well. Getting tossed from New Orleans to Franklin, Tennessee, by Katrina’s winds has taught Capps to play the disengaged road-hobo well, going by the sound of the title track, a Johnny Cash clump of Marlboro Guy roots-folk storytelling, his drawl and pitch signifying David Lee Roth in a cowgirl-upskirting mood. The guy does everything in his power to discourage pigeonholing, though, and “Jukebox” sees Capps morphing into Hank Williams for a spell as he prepares to blow the levees bulging with his cathartic thoughts on the hurricane, bringing us to the biggest surprise. “New Orleans Waltz” isn’t a Kleenex-wrecker at all but a message of love and hope for his city; Capps squeezes every chicken-fried syllable he can into the song’s three minutes, a spot of unchained goofing that’s like an overdue laugh with a close friend. Capps will play at Milly’s Tavern in Manchester on October 20. C-

— Eric W. Saeger