The Upshot: More R&B, roots and Americana than the country-focused sound that marked his earlier stuff two decades ago.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
It’s been about two decades since Bob Woodruff last put out any new music in the U.S. and judging by his latest, he’s ready to be taken seriously. The Year We Tried to Kill the Pain, despite housing 13 tracks, is still a pretty lean effort, with every lyric and every instrument serving a purpose with little filler.
Woodruff has stepped away from the more country-focused sound that defined his first two albums and brings in hints of R&B, Roots and Americana. The album start off slow with the tepid “I Didn’t Know” but quickly finds it’s footing with the powerful “I’m the Train” followed by the title track.
What unfolds is a collection of songs that are as beautiful as they are emotionally raw. Among the highlights is an achingly melancholy cover of The Supremes’ go-to song, “Stop in the Name of Love” – an inspired choice that manages to completely reinterpret the song.
From his very first record on, critics were drawing comparisons to folks like Springsteen and Steve Earle and those associations are even more obvious now than when first brought up. Twenty years is a long time to be away, but Woodruff clearly made the most of it.
DOWNLOAD: “I’m the Train,” “The Year We Tried to Kill the Pain” and “Stop in the Name of Love”