Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JOHN FRANCIS

The Better Angels

2010-12-24

Trying to steer the country away from a bitter Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address, appealed to "the better angels" of human nature. Songwriter John Francis does the same in this fine record, revealing a highly insightful perspective on our country and the fragile heart of the individual. Raised in rural Pennsylvania and now based in Philly, Francis won the ASCAP lyricist of the year award (following Josh Ritter and John Mayer); this set shows why. The record strikes me as similar to Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" era -- a rock-charged country-folk sound with plenty of food for thought. "The Way the Empire Fell," "Who?," "Prayer in a Time of Drought" and "War Register Blues" put the microscope on our nation's psyche, while "The Beautiful One" and "Love Came to Me" (the song that got him the award) lay relationships bare. Another cool tune is "Johnny Cash on the Radio," a potential anthem for the year. Let's keep our eyes on this artist -- he's very talented. 12/10 MJVD F-Rock

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.