Seville’s opening song, A Crooked Mile, quotes from a brief comment in “No Country For Old Men” with the line “if that ain’t a mess, it’ll do till a mess gets here”. The song is one of desperation and suicidal thoughts delivered over a sturdy beat with mandolin well to the fore beneath Seville’s strong vocal presence. These eleven self-written songs are all in the tradition of painting pictures and telling stories, often of hard times and hard faces. But there is tenderness there too, as in Ashes to Ashes, a tale of ongoing abuse that doesn’t end well.
And so it goes through a set of songs laced with both pain and perception. Seville co-produced the album and gathered a set of finely attuned players, including Augie Meyers of Doug Sahm fame, as well as some evocative steel guitar that give this robust roots country rock its heart and soul. They can put their boot to the floor on songs like I’m Pacing Myself which sets your toes tapping on a song that could have been made in the 60s. Excuses are at the heart of the cheating song Horseshi,t which is a slow-paced tale of a partner drinking “another man’s beer”; it has some atmospheric accordion that gives the song added depth. Blind Love, The Last Train and Save My Soul all attest to the turmoil that permeates these songs, though that is offset by the energy and assurance of the delivery which makes all these songs highly listenable.
The album closes with a summation of the overall mood with The Hardest Thing to Do. It starts with a drumbeat and piano before building into a powerful song that uses mariachi trumpets to punctuate the painful understanding that to comprehend and accept another’s point of view may in fact be the hardest thing to do. The song runs over five minuets and finds the singer looking to find that light, that place where you can let someone else in. Everyone’s cumulative efforts mean that the song is a fitting end to what is a powerful piece of work. This latest album from Eddie Seville has been described as a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle, which to my mind puts him close to John Mellencamp which is not a bad place to be. However Eddie Seville is just being his own man and those comparisons serve only give an approximation of his music. Eddie Seville is very much his own man and Ragged Hearts will appeal to those who understand where he’s coming from.