As soon as “Till Midnight” starts off, you’ll be like ‘hey, wait a minute now… this can’t be the new Chuck Ragan album because I’m hearing two guitars’! And we all know that the good man’s previous solo outings consisted of little more than his rusty pipes and an acoustic guitar, accompanied by Jon Gaunt’s fiddle and Joe Ginsberg’s upright bass.
“Till Midnight” however comes with more of a band feel after having added Lucero’s Todd Beene (guitar and pedal steel), Foo Fighters/The Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee (accordion, organ) and Social D’s David Hidalgo Jr. (drums) to the line-up. It makes for a richer, more rounded out sound that doesn’t have to depend solely on Ragan’s guitar to keep the songs going. Check out that organ and pedal steel in “Vagabond”… it’s friggin’ awesome!
Other than the band expansion, not a lot has changed though and that is a good thing. Ragan has always been known for his heart-on-sleeve lyrics and of course, his gravelly vocals that express passion and sincerity like few others out there. Plus the guy knows how to write a solid song. That is once again no different on “Till Midnight” with rebel-rousers like “Revved”, fir stingle “Non Typical” or the heartwarming “Wake With You”. And Chuck wouldn’t be Chuck if he didn’t invite his friends to sing along. See if you can spot fellow Revivalists Ben Nichols (Lucero) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), singer-songwriter Jenny O. or Drag The River’s Chad Price and Jon Snodgrass somewhere on “Till Midnight”.
As much as I already like his previous albums, “Till Midnight” is by far Chuck Ragan’s most accomplished album to date and comes with ten songs that will make you smile, sing along, want to drink, jump up and down and maybe even shed a tear. Kinda like life itself when you think about it.