One of the criticisms occasionally leveled at Walking Wounded, the band that Jerry Giddens fronted on and off for almost two decades, is the band let politics dominate their songs. However true that is, it's certainly no problem with Giddens' solo work. Livin' Ain't Easy is an album of character sketches, personal songs, and oblique ballads about people who are seeking reassurance, acceptance, and love. The tuneful bellow that makes Jerry such a distinctive performer is beautifully controlled on all but the last track, when he delivers an uncharacteristically raspy fadeout of the soul tune "Just My Imagination." The lyrics are firmly under control from beginning to end, and they reveal an artist who is a poet above all else. The songs give the kind of odd details about people and situations that one remembers years after an incident, making them intensely believable. Jerry Giddens has been classified as a folk-punk, a roots rocker, and a country artist, but on this album he shows himself to be a very modern troubadour intent on recording the pains and joys of people who are often ignored.
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AllMusic Review by Richard Foss