“My Service Isn’t Needed Anymore” is the song that begins Caleb Stine’s new record I Wasn’t Built For A Life Like This. Boy is he wrong. IWBFALLT is easily Stine’s best effort yet, and his service is definitely needed. He’s released a couple records of solid stylized alt. country with his backing band the Brakeman and in 2008 released the genre hopping hip-hop record Outgrown These Walls with fellow Baltimore resident and MC Saleem. However, IWBFALLT is my favorite of the bunch. The songs detail a modern Americana landscape that travels a well worn highway of thematic narratives, but rarely are they expressed as sublimely as they are by Stine.
Comparisons to Townes Van Zandt are easy to make (finger picking guitar lines, brilliant songwriting), but Stine’s vocal style more readily recalls the melodic tones of a Slaid Cleaves or Jay Farrar. It all adds up to IWBFALLT being one of the best records released this year (and almost certainly the best self-released record). If you’ve somehow missed out on Caleb Stine before now, it’s time to join the cult. Check out his website for more info and tour dates here.
5 Things I Love About Caleb Stine’s I Wasn’t Built For A Life Like This
1. It’s only 10 songs. Presentation is still much appreciated amongst us album listeners, even in this MP3 dominated world.
2. The song “Doing Time In Baltimore”, because of the lyrics.
“I spent the afternoon with a box of warm red wine/ and I rounded out the evening with some ragged friends of mine/ yes we smoked up and we toked up and nothing felt the same/ doing time in Baltimore, numbing up my brain”
3. This video
4. Caleb’s beard.
5. Outgrown These Walls. The record is the aforementioned record Caleb recorded with Baltimore MC Saleem. Though the record has almost nothing to do with why I like Caleb’s new record, it is an excellent record in its own right. The mixing of the folky Americana style of Caleb and the classic hip-hop of Saleem works surprisingly well together. Even if you are just attracted to the record for the novelty, I highly recommend giving it a listen here.
About the author: Specializes in Dead, Drunk, and Nakedness..... Former College Radio DJ and Current Craft Beer Nerd