Greg Graffin

Millport

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The third solo outing from the Bad Religion mastermind, Millport continues in the country-folk vein of 2006's Cold as Clay, swapping the overdriven bar chords of his flagship band for clawhammer banjo pickin' and soft rock harmonizing. Significantly more upbeat than the brooding Cold as Clay, Millport is as authentically frontporch-ready as anything Graffin has released thus far, due in large part to the presence of a formidable backing band that includes Social Distortion's Brent Harding, David Hidalgo, Jr., and Jonny Wickersham, all three of whom are no strangers to making the transition from punk to country. Graffin's confectionary melodies, always a BR mainstay, are less sinewy here and more firmly ensconced in the folk idiom, which is to be expected when one is tackling logging in the northwest ("Sawmill") and the Great Emancipator's last ride ("Lincoln's Funeral Train") in lieu of tales of social and political justice. Throughout its just-over-30-minute runtime -- very punk -- Graffin and company take on everything from gospel, Americana, and bluegrass to Crazy Horse-esque pre-grunge and breezy Laurel Canyon country-pop, and that they do so with such gusto makes Millport feel like less of an outlier, and more like guys making the best of a power outage.

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