The Deal: Member of The Band releases first studio solo album in 25 years.
The Good: Full of traditional songs and covers, if you're expecting a new album that sounds like The Band, stay away from Dirt Farmer. The 13-track album is full of rich Americana – dobros, hints of bluegrass, fiddles, acoustic guitars and the weathered voice of Helm. While Helm sticks to vocals and the drums, he gets help from people, including daughter Amy on vocals and Larry Campbell on guitar, fiddle and mandolin among other instruments. Helm's vocals are a perfect fit for the gritty songs that came up through history. Musically and lyrically simple, but probably one of the best albums I've heard this year. The songs range from the slow and sleepy folk of "Anna Lee" to the peppier "False Hearted Lover Blues."
The Bad: His vocals may not be the strongest – blame the throat cancer – or always in key, but with fine roots music like this, does that matter?
The Verdict: The album title fits the music perfectly. One can only hope he releases more in the near future. It's front porch music that's great for a lazy summer day.