If you take the concept of a “garage band” literally, the small collective heard on Adam Carroll’s new album, Old Town Rock N Roll, certainly fits the bill. The San Marcos-based singer-songwriter recorded the disc in the garage of his friend and co-producer Mark Jungers.
No one will confuse the resulting sound with the MC5 or The Hives, though. The accompaniment on Old Town Rock N Roll is spare and unadorned, reflecting Carroll’s supreme confidence in the power of his narrative skills.
Even when Carroll revives old archetypes, he consistently enlivens them with graceful turns of phrase and fresh insights. For example, the bad-boy wandering minstrel of “Oklahoma Gypsy Shuffler” carries around his “suitcase full of dustbowl lullabies” and engages in “three-two drinking, playing four-four time.”
Carroll’s knack for a vivid metaphor is uncommon as well. “Rice Birds,” a highlight from 2005’s Far Away Blues, includes this masterful couplet: “You’re a thunderstorm raging outside my garage/you’re the white shirt peeking through my camouflage.”
Carroll still has a ways to go to justify all those comparisons to John Prine, Butch Hancock, and Townes Van Zandt, but he’s certainly one of their best contemporary heirs. 9:30pm Thu, Jun 5, $10, Casbeers, 1719 Blanco Rd., (210) 732-3511
— Gilbert Garcia