Wino - Forever Gone
In the mists of time when M.T.V. actually played music one of the top shows was unplugged which is pretty self explanatory. Acoustic albums were all the rage and they could be one of two things.
Nirvana stripped their sound to the bone and still retained the beauty and pain of those songs and made the covers in their own image. it was a triumph. The other extreme was Eric Clapton. All this did was strip his music of any fire or passion. It sounded exactly like what it was an exercise in comfy M.O.R. dinner party music made by an artist that was as jaded as the music. Naturally it sold by the truckload
This brings us to the subject of Scott "Wino" Weinrich and his latest solo album. An absolute giant of the music underground. His tenure with Saint Vitus and the Obsessed standing as twin pillars of Doom. His various other projects and his solo career have given the impression of a driven individual following his muse.
"Forever Gone" his second acoustic album, out now on Ripple Music, is one that is neither of the above examples of acoustic albums instead sailing closer to Johnny Cash's American albums. Acoustic based but with splashes of electric guitar and a occasional pinch of drums. The sound is dry and gives a real feel of intimacy .
The songs are given extra gravitas by the deep baritone of Wino's voice. The vibe of regret and self awareness and ownership of mistakes made, run through every song However there is also a streak of survival that has characterized Wino through his life and career. Starting with the title track "Forever Gone" With the exception of one minor misstep this is an absolute triumph
The playing is understated and proves less is more in some cases. It makes the listener really lean in and hear these songs. It flows beautifully with previously mentioned misstep in "Your so Fine" which just doesn't sit comfortably being better suited to an outlaw country album than a cathartic confession the rest of the songs exude. The songwriting is open, raw and executed with skill of a seasoned player with nowhere left to hide. the Lyrics tear a plaster off and heal the wounds but leave the scars. "Crystal Madonna" and "Dark Ravine" being the standout tracks to my ear.
The album finishes with a left field cover of Joy Division's "Isolation" On the surface this should not work being the most electric and rock track on album but a combination of the Lyrics and Wino's delivery make it a perfect epilogue to a wonderful statement of an album.
It is the soundtrack to arriving home late on Saturday night and spinning one more record before sleep. Equally it is a record to put on Sunday morning while devouring a gallon of Coffee/Tea. it is a collection of songs that leads you in to the very heart of what it is to be a fallible Human and how to survive it.