[Western Jubilee (2010)]
It’s almost becoming a scary sight—a well-known celebrity with the good ole red, white and blue draped in the background; in other words, a potential pulpit for another round of right wing-crazed propaganda. But thankfully, that’s not the case here. Though this collection of tracks does align with Don Edwards‘s political viewpoints, they’re definitely ideas worth considering. Are Native-Americans really free (“The Freedom Song”) if their land has been whisked away? Is doling out so much foreign aid prudent when those receiving it are unappreciative (“My Own Native Land”)? They’re the kind of issues that are fodder for lively discussion but are not necessarily partisan. Interestingly, “Hard Times” pokes fun at both parties by calling them ‘Demo-cans’ and ‘Republi-crats,’ a prophetic statement for even today’s political climate. Edwards also unearths cowboy star Elton Britt’s biggest hit, 1942’s million-selling “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” that was the biggest WWII song of any genre. Of course, Edwards has plenty to say about the American cowboy, especially their disappearing way of life (“The Last Cowboy Song,” “The Campfire Has Gone Out”). He even cites a little cowboy poetry on “The Devil’s Hatband,” which addresses how barbed-wire fences restrict movement across the range, which in essence chokes the freedom of the old-time cowboy.
—Dan Willging (Denver, CO)