Signature 2014

, Mark Erelli’s seventh album, captures blue-collar America in ways not heard since early John Gorka and John Cougar Mellencamp. You’ll also hear echoes of fellow Boston-area songwriters. On “Baltimore” he rocks out and hits high notes reminiscent of Ellis Paul, while “Man of the Family” has the gospel-meets-urban-reality feel of Vance Gilbert. Erelli might be evocative, but he’s never derivative. Both “Hope Dies Last” and “Five Beer Moon” are masterful probes of how Everyman rockets between deep cynicism and cautious optimism. “Shadowland” and “Volunteers” are worthy additions to the ever-growing Iraq-as-worthless-sinkhole oeuvre. Heavy yields to soft on “Once,” a melodic take on how love happens when we feel it instead of analyzing it. Good messages—just call this a great album and enjoy.

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