Clip: Chuck Prophet
writer: JUSTIN HOPPER
There's a lot of call for a songwriter like Chuck Prophet these days.
Thoroughly modern, Prophet is rooted in American music -- after all, his
80s band, Green On Red, did practically invent alt-country. But on No Other
Love, Prophet's latest New West Records album, he's also a little bit above
all that posturing. Sure, "Run Primo Run" invokes Blonde on Blonde-era
Dylan, and there are some definite Tom Waits inflections ("She threw our
future away / the night he jumped out of that cake"), but it's more
important that Prophet's songs generally tell us something about our
Like good little Californians, Prophet's characters are never quite what
they want to be: They're constantly trying to be more "like Sissy Spacek,"
or to do something that "makes him feel like Richard Gere." They want to
"talk about old friends ... [or] anything but what?s really going on."
They're insistent self-helpers, and self-haters, and while most of
Prophet's topics are old hat (criticizing condo-dwellers is a bit
fish-in-barrel-ish, isn't it?), they?re rarely handled with such a light
stylistic touch: somewhere between Down By Law and New West label mates the
Flatlanders. Prophet may not be the godsend his name implies, but in an era
in which even singer-songwriters are increasingly dominated by their own
petty musical reference points, we'll take all the good ones we can get.
Chuck Prophet, Maia Sharp, Corey Harris, Patty Griffin, Raul Malo and more
appear at the WYEP Summer Music Festival beginning at 2:30 p.m. Sat., June
29, at the Allegheny Landing Park, North Shore. 412-381-9131.