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Grant-Lee Phillips

Lightning Show Us Your Stuff

Lightning Show Us Your Stuff

UPC: 634457271913

Format: LP

Regular price $18.95
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2018's Widdershins presented a Grant-Lee Phillips who was willing to mount a soapbox and speak his mind about life in Trump-era America. Two years later, on 2020's Lightning Show Us Your Stuff, Phillips is feeling a bit quieter and more introspective, still a man of principles but less inclined to speak so loudly about them. This music isn't the work of someone who has resigned himself to unfortunate changes in America; instead, he takes his time training a keen eye on the world around him, and has plenty to say about the larger issues of a culture in chaos as well as the stuff that complicates the heart and soul of nearly all of us. The loneliness of "Leave a Light On" and the frustrations of a life going nowhere in "Straight to the Ground" rest comfortably besides the troubled ruminations of "Sometimes You Wake Up in Charleston" and the casual, sincere defiance of "Ain't Done Yet," and he confronts them all with honesty and purpose. As a songwriter, Phillips has always been eloquent but never a sloganeer, and that's certainly the case with Lightning Show Us Your Stuff; his messages are smart while leaving some interpretive wiggle room, though his vocals tell the tale as well as the songs themselves, and in this case, that works just fine. Phillips's singing has long been one of his greatest assets, and the smooth, soulful tone of his instrument is in excellent shape, a perfect vehicle for the quiet determination of the music. He's assembled a superb band for these sessions: bassist Jennifer Condos and drummer Jay Bellerose build a subtle yet unshakable foundation for the songs, and Eric Heywood's pedal steel guitar and Danny T. Levin's brass add lots of effective detail to the arrangements. Lightning Show Us Your Stuff doesn't feel like one of the truly great albums in Grant-Lee Phillips's catalog, but it's certainly a very good one, and any artist who can reliably turn out music this smart, impassioned, and well-crafted is someone who more than deserves a larger audience. ~ Mark Deming