Porter Wagoner CD review by Michael Coleman

Music Reviews
Porter Wagoner CD review by Michael Coleman
Feb 20, 2008, 00:17

Porter Wagoner - Wagonmaster


On Wagonmaster, the late country music legend Porter Wagoner sings about a man he knew as a boy in rural Missouri. The lonely guy lived in a dirt-floored log cabin he'd built with his own two hands. He made all of his wooden furniture, too, and stuffed cardboard boxes into cracks in the walls to keep the mountain chill at bay.

This record feels like that: Raw, resourceful, and reeking of authenticity. Wagoner blazed his country music legend in shimmering Nudie suits, but his final record before his death in late 2007 eschews flash for timeless simplicity and a touch of the weird.

Produced by throwback country ace Marty Stuart, Wagonmaster treads in dark territory—especially the flat-out psychotic narrative of “Parkview Hospital.” But real country music's always had as much madness as rock and roll. Wagoner and his crack band swing on “Be a Little Quieter,” a plea to a former lover who's memory haunts his sleep. “Hotwired,” a bad-ass little backwoods boogie, tells the tale of a woman who overheats everything she touches, including men, cars and guitars.

Expert musicianship propels these tracks, and Porter's ease with gospel, country, swing, and even rock and roll keeps the listener riveted. A fitting finale for an artist cut from country music's original cloth. [Anti]

-Michael Coleman

Buy Wagonmaster now at AMAZON

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