Cold As Clay
Earlier this week, I went up to a cabin with some friends. We were out in the middle of nowhere, next to a giant lake hidden amongst a never ending sea of trees. At night we sat around a fire, drinking, telling stories, hanging out, and acting like, well, drunk teenagers as the night went on. Throughout the night we had this mix CD playing that I had burnt for the trip, cleverly titled “The Compact Disk Of Coolness”; and while the guys loved it, the girls soon started to become annoyed with hearing the same songs over and over again for three days straight. So it eventually became a battle for the CD player and the CDs seemed to switch back and forth at quicker intervals. Now you may be wondering what this story as to do with Greg Graffin‘s solo release, Cold As The Clay; well, the thing is this: the day I came back from the cabin I saw Graffin‘s CD laying on my kitchen table. I threw it in, and as soon as the first melodies of harmonica and guitars floated through the speakers I knew that this, right here, was the CD that should’ve found its place in that sought-after CD player in the middle of nature, surrounded by trees and a collection of friends.
For you see, Cold As The Clay is a soothingly perfect collection of americana folk tunes that are meant to be shared with friends and family as they sit around a fire, telling stories and sharing drinks. They are songs you can easily picture being sung around a campfire, being passed down from generation to generation. Hell, some of them even have, as Graffin has taken some old traditional folklore songs like One More Hill, Willie More, Omie Wise and Little Sadie and given them his own little spin – all with the help of Mr. Brett, The Weakerthans and label-mate Jolie Holland.
Still, anyone who is a Bad Religion fan knows that Graffin is a talented song-writer himself; and he proved that once again with Cold As Clay as he took up the main song-writing duties for the other half of the album. The songs show perfectly that he can do more than write political charged punk anthems; instead, he can also write soothing folklore songs that feel as if they have been passed down through generations and that they will continue to get passed down for years to come. Don’t Be Afraid To Run, The Watchmaker’s Dial and Rebel’s Goodbye are all beautifully crafter americana songs with timeless lyrics that urge you to replay them over and over again.
Yeah, there’s no denying that this is the singer from Bad Religion, after all, Greg Graffin does have a very distinct set of vocals. Still, his vocals fit nicely and he made, maybe not a standout album, but a timeless album. Next time I take a trip up to that hidden cabin with my friends, you can be sure Cold As The Clay will be in my backpack.