The Upshot: J. Geils Band singer dips into bluegrass and country in addition to soul and R&B this time around.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Peter Wolf’s music is never far away from his R&B and Rock influences, but with his latest, A Cure for Loneliness, he takes his biggest gamble yet, mixing in Bluegrass and even a little classic Country and the payoff is big. The record is his most impressive in decades.
His first effort in six years, the record kicks off with “Rolling On,” a decent, if typical Peter Wolf slow tempo, R&B drenched nugget, but by the second track, the country-tinged, Moe Bandy classic, “It Was Always So Easy (To Find an Unhappy Woman),” that you realize this is far from yet another going-through-the-motions album. The musical touchstones are scattered, but impressive. In just about anyone else’s hands, the Bandy song sounds like a cheap novelty number, but with Wolf’s barroom vocals, it sounds simply sublime. The same goes for the Bluegrass re-interpretation of his old J. Geils standard, “Love Stinks.”
A few of the songs here sound like typical Wolf fare – not necessarily a bad thing – tracks like “How Do You Do” and “Wasting Time,” but he’s at his most impressive on A Cure for Loneliness when he’s trying something new, like the mellow, acoustic number “Some Other Time, Some Other Place” or the equally mellow “It’s Raining.”
Not as prolific as some of his peers, it’s easy to forget what a great musician Wolf is. Thankfully, this new one serves as a fresh reminder.
DOWNLOAD: “Some Other Time, Some Other Place,” “Love Stinks” and “Stranger”