David Serby 'Poor Man's Poem' Self-Release

For this album Serby has moved from the honky-tonk of his previous albums to a more folk-based acoustic sound. He seems right at home here as he did in the honky-tonks. Again he works with producer Edward Tree, who plays a variety of instruments throughout, to produce a textured set of original songs that not only are more relevant to these times but also to earlier troubled times. Serby songs place him at events and feeling emotions of outlaws, outsiders and out-of-timers. The songs feel real and Serby sings them with heart and conviction over a rich acoustic arrangements. The songs take in the exploits of gunfighters, gold miners, honest and dishonest working men and displaced Civil War soldiers as well as poor men dreaming of love and better times. That these song have a resonance in an age of greed, celebrity and, on the other side of the coin, hardened times. There is much sympathy in these songs for those exploited in the past and for the times they lived and the problems that they face and often overcame. In the telling their relevance to the here and now is underscored. For instance Silver Creek talks of a wounded soldier's life after returning severely wounded from the Civil War to find menial work and loss of dignity. Dignity is crucial to the core of Serby's understanding of the human condition and a song like Silver Creek has an unspoken continuity with the wounded returning from current arenas of conflict. Those who enjoyed some of Dave Alvin's more acoustic folk based albums should enjoy this album. It is an album that extends Serby's range and his solid body of Americana music that should be enjoyed for what it is - and that is simply some very fine music.