Singer/songwriter Rusty Willoughby has operated under a number of group monikers -- Pure Joy, Flop, Llama -- and though this album is credited to him as a solo artist, the country/folk/rock group he assembled to play on it has been gigging under the album name, calling itself Cobirds Unite. That outfit includes, in addition to Willoughby on vocals, guitar, piano, and organ, Rachel Flotard of Visqueen on harmony vocals; Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees on bass, drums, vibraphone, and percussion; Maggie Bjorklund, who plays with Mark Lanegan, on pedal steel guitar; and Johnny Sangster of Mudhoney on guitar, organ, piano, and percussion. (Sangster also engineered, produced, and mixed the record.) This team, joined by cellist Barb Antonio and violinist Tilman Herb, creates moody shuffle arrangements for the most part in a style somewhat reminiscent of Cowboy Junkies, over which Willoughby and Flotard harmonize on his songs, which featured introspective, impressionistic lyrics. They also throw in covers of the standard "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" (here called "Do Right Woman") and the Bobby Bare country hit "Streets of Baltimore." The result is a low-key, late-night listening experience that gives the sense of a difficult world in which things may or may not work out.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann