Spin - 10/00, p.1848 out of 10
- "...Exudes the reflective wit and wisdom of his native Iowa as effectively as the Wu spew Staten Island science....Unplug your irony and drink this in."
Entertainment Weekly - 8/4/00, p.86
"Nobody does lonely like Brown, whose spare, night-sweat confessionals spill out in a hypnotic baritones bass alternately filled with bourbon and blood..." - Rating: B
Q - 10/00, p.1124 stars out of 5
- "...[His] husky voice and poignant lyrics combine to paint songs, quixotic vignettes of existential small-town blues and the true beauty of love amongst the ruins..."
CMJ - 9/4/00, p.31
"...Delivers some of folk music's most vividly painted songscapes..."
Down Beat - 3/01, p.733.5 out of 5
- "Brown pushes the tempo into rocking territory, dips into the blues and lullabies with acoustic guitar radiance..."
No Depression - 7-8/00, pp.100-1
"...A multifaceted look at a remarkable artist..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 8/00, p.104
"...Straightforward, storytelling folk, blues and country songs...showcasing a deep, rich, crusty, world-weary, been-there-done-it voice that gives even the happy songs a lugubrious undertow, and nimble, unpretentious guitar-picking..."
Personnel: Greg Brown (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); Bo Ramsey (electric guitar); Eric Heywood (pedal steel); Rob Arthur (Wurlitzer piano, organ); Dave Jacques (acoustic & electric bass); Steve Hayes (drums, percussion).
Recorded at Pachyderm Studio, Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
Greg "Iowa's Bob Dylan" Brown seemed to reach an artistic pinnacle with 1997's SLANT 6 MIND, a dark, angular record full of sharp, poetic observations and spiky accompaniment. That album's successor COVENANT feels like a step away from the rumbling darkness to a more contemplative mood that leaves room for romance.
There's a muted, almost hypnotic feel to the album. Brown's band practices the utmost restraint throughout, and the folk/blues feel remains pretty consistently low-key. Most of the lyrics are simpler, less image-laden than before, focusing instead on the ins and outs of love, family, and friendship. "Real Good Friend" is an effectively bluesy declaration of devotion, while "Waiting on You" utilizes Mississippi John Hurt-like guitar to frame its torch-ballad lyrics, and the roadhouse grind of "Blues Go Walking" finds the narrator ill at ease, even in ostensibly serene circumstances. As always, Brown's deep, soulful growl of a voice makes every word utterly convincing and compelling.