The latest offering from Carl Wirkkala is the uniquely evocative Troubles and Trains. With themes rooted in deep, historical imagery, the album offers an accessible first listen while continuing to reward consecutive listens. There is simply no filler to be found. Each song is a unique experience that encompasses a grand range of emotions.
Instrumentally, it avoids the standard country fare while keeping with a roots sound. Each instrument compliments the song direction perfectly while not interfering with the singer-songwriter approach that Wirkkala has developed. Lyrically, Troubles and Trains is full of subtle but effective stories. It seems that one of Carl Wirkkala’s major strengths is to say more in a single verse than most country songwriters will say in an entire song, clearly evidenced by the opening track Steel Rail Lullaby. Troubles and Trains is not regressive, but shows influence from classic artists such as Mark Knopfler, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joe Shaver, while enjoying a fresh and original approach. It is truly a triumph in songwriting. Each song can accompany many moods, thus making it the type of album that is bound to stick in the minds of listeners.
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