Consumer Guide Album
Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven [Yep Roc, 2011]
To call this the best record of his solo career isn't to claim it's great, it's to reckon that it's pretty darn good. At 55, young Dave has found his voice, which echoes somewhere on the outskirts of Johnny Cash territory, and the songs strike old notes so truly they could be new: loner quests (a half-blind Golden Glover, a bounty hunter with nothing to lose), lost bard (Johnny Ace this time), union man (he beat U.S. Steel and got beat anyway), sex in the present (he loves her dirty nightgown) and past (one inamorata was a union maid on the side). He even hooks up with his brother for some forced jocularity that's the truest note of all. Remember when Phil was supposed to be the singer?