A departure from the small-band roots rock of her 2004 comeback album Moodswing, the stark Tramps Like Us is the most stripped-down and nakedly emotional album of Kacy Crowley's career. Crowley's voice, sounding more fragile than it had on the self-assured Moodswing, is at the center of all of these tracks; indeed, her own acoustic guitar is usually her only accompaniment. Unlike many similar singer/songwriters, Crowley has the melodic chops to keep this all-acoustic album from devolving into one mid-tempo strum after another; the choppy damped chords of the rueful "Nameless Town" are notably different from the harder, bluesy edge of "Sinners Hallelujah," which is itself different from the hushed vocals and soft-loud dynamics of "Kimberly." Crowley is in a fully unsentimental mood here, with most of the lyrics concerning broken relationships and bad luck. While she adds little new to the world's storehouse of knowledge on either topic, Crowley definitely sounds as if she means every word. It's a less pretty and immediately appealing album than Moodswing, but its startling directness and simplicity serve the songs well.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason