I write a lot of really nice things about a lot of different bands and artists on this website. This is partly because we here at Twangville are more about sharing and shining the light on good music, rather than being merciless critics sitting on our high horses. It’s also because there are no specific assignments. No one tells me I have to review a particular band or artist; I have to WANT to. 99% of the time this means that I will actually like/love the record, artist, or subject matter of what I am writing about. This makes for some fairly adulatory and at times hyperbolic reviews. Most of the time, this presents little to no problem for me or our readers. The internet is teeming with videos, mp3s, and streaming audio. You can generally check out whatever I am yammering about and decide for yourself if the latest Ben Sollee album is really “a masterpiece” (hint: I still think it is).
The only problem is when I stumble upon a new artist who absolutely blows me away. How do I offer the proper descriptors to express the profound inspiration the artist has given me? I can’t. I’m neither that eloquent nor that subtle with my praise. Jen Buxton is one of those artists.
I’ve never met Ms. Buxton or seen her play live (I do follow her on Twitter @jen_buxton). She lives in Australia and played The Revival Tour (Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Ben Nichols, Frank Turner, Jon Snodgrass, Chad Price, Tom Gabel, Brian Fallon, etc.) when it swung through. That’s some pretty stiff company to keep, but something tells me that Ms. Buxton fit in just fine.
Her debut record Don’t Change Your Plans was one of my favorite records released last year. It’s not an in your face rock ‘n roll barnstormer. It’s a slice of mostly acoustic confessional songwriting in the vein of Micah Schnabel’s When The Stage Lights Go Dim. But like Micah (or Ben Nichols or Patterson Hood or Craig Finn), Buxton has a way of making you enjoy her miss steps, identify with her pain, and take another shot of rotgut before finding the next bar, the next stage, or the next lover.
I can’t recommend it highly enough. The lyrics are a revelation and the music has the heartfelt emotional impact of Ben Nichol’s acoustic work.
RIYL: Lucero, Two Cow Garage, The Gaslight Anthem, Tim Barry
About the author: Specializes in Dead, Drunk, and Nakedness..... Former College Radio DJ and Current Craft Beer Nerd