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New Releases

A review of the latest from Brett Staggs

Brett Staggs
Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me
(SuperMonkey Recording Co.)

What a charmed life Brett Staggs has lived, to hear it from the title track of his new album Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me. It’s an upbeat country-rock tune, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics relaying a curriculum vitae of a smooth-sailing life: I never get a fly stuck in my tea / I never run out of money / and I never get stopped by police. With that last part, it’s a little unclear what level of satire Staggs is reaching for, whether it’s a sardonic aping of privilege or simply a twist on the blues/folk tradition of listing all your problems in lyric form.

It doesn’t end up mattering much. The four songs on the EP are clever, charming and easy on the ears, particularly the closer, “Love in My Heart (Hell in My Soul),” which pleasantly yokes Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” and brings the album some much-needed variety of tone. “Home Is Where the Party Is” skirts the expectation for Andrew WK-gone-country and instead delivers a clean, sweetly earnest song about friends, family and the powerful role music plays in those relationships.

Instrumentation-wise, most of the heavy lifting goes to a distorted guitar, which appears often, and is successfully paired with an acoustic rhythm guitar. Like Nothing Bad … as a whole, the instrumentation is clean, maybe less than revelatory, but wholly enjoyable.

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