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coverpic flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 111 - 10/17/05

Stace England
Greetings From Cairo, Illinois
Gnashville

Stace England has made a thematic album of the eponymous town in Illinois. So it's a country cousin to Sufjan Stevens recent album maybe. Except England is a more rural singer. He's guested by Jason Ringenberger from Jason and The Scorchers.

"Cairo Blues" laments the mean and nasty women of Cairo. "Women in Cairo send you to your grave" indeed. "Equal Opportunity Lynch Mob" is a dark retelling of two lynchings. "We hung Henry Salzer for killing his wife / Will James raped a white girl and paid with his life / Ol' Will was black, but Henry was white / They were equal in our eyes that night" sings England. Distressingly, the song is catchy and up-tempo but you think twice before humming along. It's an irony worthy of Randy Newman. England's assuming the mob's perspective is a brave move that few could match.

"Far from the Tree" is a sobering account of racism. Musically he keeps it simple but effective. "Prosperity Train" features Ringenberg and is a shot of punk country.

We end with a careful note of optimism and a plea to "Can't We All Get Along". It's a perfect end to an album that's told of so many injustices but also some hope.

Copyright © 2005 Anna Maria Stjärnell e-mail address

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