Review: Sorrows Always Swim, by Pushing Chain

A year ago a Kick Starter campaign showed up in my Facebook news feed. It was shared by one of my favorite singer-songwriter-musician-humans, Bill Kirchen. Bill was a member of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen back in the 70s, and since then has continued to crank out great songs, recordings, and performances. But this Kick Starter was for a duo who call themselves Pushing Chain. Bill would be producing.

Pushing Chain are Boyd Blomberg and Adam Moe, who have played music together since 1997. Blomberg plays guitar and Moe plays fiddle. Both sing and write, although the bulk of songs on this CD are Blomberg’s.

photo from Pushing Chain press materials

Pushing Chain describe their music as Folky-Tonk, and include the following statement in their press materials:

Pushing Chain believes in strong harmonies, kazoos, and sad songs. We believe in performing songs we’ve never played together, and jamming with people we’ve just met. That a guitarist and a fiddler can cover Hendrix if they want to. That music can cause tears and laughter, sometimes in the course of one song, and that there are still important songs to be written. That a good band will make strangers share a table.

Word.

So, based on Bill’s involvement alone, I made a pledge. I didn’t know their music at all.

A number of months back, I received my autographed copy of the CD and have been listening, mostly in the car. This is heavier on the Tonk than the Folky. That’s not a problem at all. Bill Kirchen’s musical DNA is all over this recording. He is credited third among the musicians behind only Blomberg and Moe, and shares producing credit with Mark Hallman. His guitar will be immediately recognizable to his fans. The recording is rounded out with Hallman on piano and organ, David Carroll on bass, Rick Richards on drums, and Redd Volkaert on guitar on the final track, “Rondo Up!”

Like most of the songs here, the lead track, “Lucky You, Lucky Him” is about love. In this case, as is the case with so many country and honky tonk songs, it’s about love lost, and seeing the happiness of the one you lost.

The title track is a highlight. Great lyrics with a hook. Bill Kirchen’s solo is among his best, not too long, mostly on the fat strings, emotive, just right.

Other favorites on the disc are “Breadbox”, “My Baby’s Kisses”, “Truckstop Rose”, and “A Cowboy’s Ride”.

I won’t go on longer than necessary. If you like country, honky tonk, Americana, and the like, I unreservedly recommend this CD.

And if you’re reading this Pushing Chain, please come to western Washington!

About Michael Brown

I am a public school teacher in the state of Washington. I enjoy writing, bird-watching, working in the garden, photography, and spending time with my family. View all posts by Michael Brown

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