Last year saw Lee Baggett stretch further from his laconic folk, rooting deeper into a Cosmic Americana sound that’s long been simmering beneath the surface. The perennial Little Wings collaborator has teamed up with Field for Dead covers in the past, but there’s something more dynamic at play on the dusty Just A Minute and it ripples right on through Anyway. Baggett, like his foil Field, has a way with tender, yet sun-warped sounds. These usually feel like they might float away on the right autumn breezes, but lately he’s been fattening up the formula. While there’s still a good dose of quivered strum, Baggett lets a bit of muddied grit int to the mix this time, rising most prominently on the whiskied Stones ramble of “Fruit Dog,” a glam-gutted highlight that tears out of Baggett with a battered sneer. While this moment is as heavy as he gets on the album, I’d pay good money for an LP that flipped the ratio of warblers to rockers, going full narcotic funk tumble down the ‘70s beat-denim rabbit hole.
The rest of the album sails through his wobbled folk and knock-kneed pop, squinting at the sun and occasionally slumping into the tall grass. Aside from the rumple of “Fruit Dog, he flashes a bit of glam smile once more on “Going Bad,” though in a much more reigned in fashion. The other notable addition this time around is a country sway that rears its head on “Highway Roll,” and in the undercurrents of “Sink In My Dream.” The twanged amble fits in nicely with his pickled pop. Baggett’s last couple have felt like him figuring out where he’s headed, and I’m down to come along on the journey. Honestly, I like it when the lack of restraint creeps in. Again, a full double-sider of rockers from Baggett would play well, though a full-on country approach wouldn’t be out of the question either. Anyway proves to be an eclectic bag, and one with plenty of reasons to keep reaching in for the next surprise. Here’s hoping he keeps tinkering with the formula.
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