Abandon Jalopy

Mercy

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Although it was ready for release three years earlier, former Blind Melon and Unified Theory member Brad Smith's debut solo album, Mercy, finally saw the light of day in 2001, under the pseudonym Abandon Jalopy. Joined by a host of other musicians (including the three other surviving members of Blind Melon on a few tracks), Smith plays a variety of instruments throughout, handling most of the vocal, bass, and guitar duties himself -- the end result is heartfelt and homegrown rock that's not too far off from what Melon specialized in. An incredibly personal record, Mercy often comes off as a glimpse into Smith's diary. Written entirely in the wake of Shannon Hoon's tragic death, several songs deal with his passing ("Stompin' the Fuse," "Blowin' My Mind"), as well as Smith's upbringing in Mississippi ("Speed Bumps"), a time in his life when he had the odious task of working at a slaughterhouse ("Forklift"), plus an early version of the Unified Theory song "California" (titled "Slow Down Good Times"). The same loose, jamming, and funky rock that made such Melon classics as "Soak the Sin," "Tones of Home," and "2x4" so enjoyable can be detected throughout, with elements of folk mixed in as well. A highly recommended solo debut.

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