Hard Working Americans, Turbo Fruits | Lincoln Theatre | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Hard Working Americans

Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Hard Working Americans

Hard Working Americans, Turbo Fruits 

When: Tue., Aug. 18, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $25-$30



LINCOLN THEATRE, RALEIGH—Few troubadours have better embodied Woody Guthrie's idea that folk singers should comfort disturbed people and disturb comfortable people than Todd Snider. It seems anathema to his approach, then, that Snider—one of the wiliest songwriters around—would put together a loose-limbed jam band called Hard Working Americans to release a self-titled album of songs he didn't write. But he did.

The acerbic folkie, who's far more Jerry Jeff Walker than Jerry Garcia, fronts the freewheeling Hard Working Americans, which include notable guns hired from the roots- and jam-rock scenes. Bassist Dave Schools comes from longtime Georgia longhairs Widespread Panic. Guitarist Neal Casal spent some time with Ryan Adams' Cardinals before linking up with Chris Robinson's post-Crowes Brotherhood. Hippie rock is in drummer Duane Trucks' blood; his older brother, Derek, is a superstar on the contemporary roots/jam circuit, and his uncle, Butch, is an Allman Brothers co-founder.

The whole project seems like a low-stakes fuckaround, a group of aging dudes playing noodly versions of some favorites. All of the songs on the band's self-titled debut and most of the ones on the live double-disc, The First Waltz, are covers. The players couch them in easy psychedelia.

But the roots of Hard Working Americans, no matter the band's jammy impulses, rest with Snider's folk underpinnings. Consider 2012's Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables, a record grounded in class animus and packed with songs that expose junk bond hucksters and embrace the blue-collar unemployed. Hard Working Americans is a careful selection of sociopolitical excoriations, too. These aren't Snider's songs, by and large, but he inhabits them well. His personality still shines through, and it's the admittedly hot-shit band's biggest asset. Hard Working Americans are too comfortable to be disturbing, but they still offer plenty of comfort to the disturbed. 8 p.m., $25–$30, 126 E. Cabarrus St., Raleigh, 919-821-4111, www.lincolntheatre.com. —Patrick Wall

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