Ray Bierl

Any Place I Hang My Hat

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Veteran folk singer Ray Bierl here assembles a concept album of songs about drifters and hoboes, ranging from traditional folk and country tunes to songs associated with Elvis Presley, Woody Guthrie, Ricky Nelson, and Hank Williams. He sings them in an easy tenor while accompanying himself on fiddle or guitar and is joined by a few fellow musicians who add rhythm, harmony vocals, and occasionally a saxophone line to arrangements that touch upon jazz and blues. Bierl is as comfortable covering a show tune like Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home" as he is reviving Red Sovine's ghost story "Big Joe and Phantom 309," the songs that end the set. The album demonstrates that the figure of a rootless man traveling from place to place is a constant in different strains of American popular music, no doubt in part because it reflects the experience of musicians like Bierl himself, who spend much of their time on the road and identify with such fellow travelers. Any Place I Hang My Hat celebrates their stories of life on the road.

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