Chuck Ragan Knows Good Road Music, Plugged or Unplugged
Gainesville, Florida's Chuck Ragan is one of those dudes who just can't go wrong. His more-than-a-decade's work with the still-revered punk act Hot Water Music is often cited by younger punk bands as a key motivator for their own punk-ish endeavors. In the more recent past, as well as the present, the rootsier, folk side of Ragan's sonic palette is getting the bulk of his and his many listeners' attention too.
Scott Toepfer Chuck Ragan.
Gold Country (2009) was a rough-hewn gem of an album that impeccably brought out the storyteller in Ragan perhaps more than any of his previous work. That level has been met, if not exceeded, with the release of Ragan's newest LP, Covering Ground. Fire-and-brimstone singing mixed with fiddling that would be suitable for any front porch stompin' session, along with raw acoustic guitar and the occasional harmonica rip, make for an album that dares you to skip a song, not that you'll even consider it over the course of the record's 10 tunes.
Add to Ragan's role as troubadour the position of leader for the now annual Revival Tour. Over the course of the last few years, Ragan and various roots and punk luminaries such as Possessed by Paul James, Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon, Tom Gabel of Against Me!, Austin Lucas and Lucero's Ben Nichols have toured the nation in a predominantly acoustic, down-home and familial fashion, preaching the gospel of how great songs are great songs, regardless of whether they're plugged in or not.
Since Ragan has more or less been on the road touring for just shy of 20 years, we thought it would be revealing to see what the Top Five Favorite Artists For The Road are for him and his crew, who will will be play tonight at the Prophet Bar. Check 'em out after the jump.
CHUCK RAGAN'S ALL TIME TOP FIVE FAVORITE ARTISTS FOR THE ROAD
1. Creedence Clearwater Revival: They've always been a staple, and most likely will [be] for the rest of my life. They bridge the gap between sheer high-energy playing and thoughtful, inspiring roots and down-home folk music.
2. Tom Petty: Aside from simply being Tom Petty, he embodies what American rock and roll music is all about.
3. Bruce Springsteen: A prime model and example of a musician having a dream and a vision and sticking to his guns to make it all work along the way.
4. Townes Van Zandt: An American folk and Americana icon. This man wrote the songs for us to write songs about.
5. Frankie Stubbs/Leatherface An inspiring mix of aggressive rock and roll mixed with hopelessly romantic, poetic, political and moving lyrics that shaped my thought process on music from the first chord.