All The Rage is usually a reference to popularity, the twist here being a nod towards anger and frustration, emotions that are evident in a clutch of reactive songs, from the military beats and aggressive slide-guitar of opener Eagle-Vulture, through the biting electric-blues of The Sh*t Hit, to the Latin-tinged apocalyptic imagery of Ain’t You Great? As Siegal looked out in 2017, he saw a planet with poison in its veins, as evidenced by the insidious rise of right-wing factions through Europe and across the Atlantic.
This album has him collaborating with Jimbo Mathus as producer. Writing with Mathus had also been an ambition and here we have three co-writes, ranging from a finger-picked confessional My Flame, to the stark cyclical blues If I Live, and the lilting gospel-soul stunner Sweet Souvenir.
The band members are Siegal’s young stalwarts recruited in 2013 and since honed into a telepathic unit. Dusty Ciggaar (guitars), Danny Van’t Hoff (bass), and Rafael Schwiddessen (drums) bind seamlessly with Siegal’s vocals and guitar. Some additional instrumentation from Jimbo Mathus and occasional backing vocals by Merel Moelker were all that was needed to create a big, real sound.
Dig into the track listing and you’ll find an unbroken run of modern classics. One-Eyed King is described as “kind of a murder ballad”, while Jacob’s Ladder is a porch-blues bone-rattler with a gang-chanted vocal (“It’s about both kinds of luck, bad and worse”).
Won’t Be Your Shotgun Rider combines a sunny-side-up country vibe with a lyric advising that, in extreme circumstances, it’s better to let a lost soul sink. Finally, there’s Sailor Town: a hooky, black-humoured story-song initiated over coffee with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Hook Herrera, its lyric telling of a hardscrabble dockside district where “some of my friends got locked up, most of the girls got knocked up”.
This is classic Siegal.
“Whether blues belting …. or dripping soul his trademark lyrical genius is everywhere.” Blues in Britain