In "The Next Best Western," the opening track of this terrific collection of tunes, life on the road takes its toll both literally and figuratively. The narrator goes so far as to question God's motives as he rolls along the turnpike: "Did he who made the lamb/Put the tremble in the hand/That reaches out to take my quarter?" Indeed, Shindell works in landscapes of desperation and longing throughout the album, with fugitives ("May"), absent fathers ("I Saw My Youth Today") and other assorted average Joes that you pass on the street every day. Producer Larry Campbell places these stories in spare and beautiful surroundings, never overwhelming the sentiment. This is songcraft at its finest.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tim Sheridan