This benefit album chronicles a benefit concert given by Greg Brown at Peterson Auditorium in Ishpeming, MI, in August 2005 on behalf of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve in its efforts to oppose sulfide mining in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Brown presents several "notebook songs," i.e., songs he has written recently in a notebook and not performed before. Not surprisingly, given the forum, he makes frequent references to Michigan and to environmental concerns, among other political issues. Notably, "Oily Boys" is a topical song about the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and what Brown sees as the media's complicity with politicians and the oil industry. Brown also includes old favorites like "Canned Goods," however, and he is joined by a second guitarist, bass player, and pedal steel guitarist to give a country flavor to his encores. There is a hilarious 12th hidden track in which a child, Kiah Leaf Staley, daughter of Yellow Dog coordinator Wendy Johnson, warms up the crowd with another comic Brown song before his appearance.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: Cynthia Pryor