Reviews Chuck Ragan Till Midnight

Chuck Ragan

Till Midnight

It’s almost at the point where Chuck Ragan has reinvented himself. Sure, he’s always had the voice and he’s done the countrified thing in the past with Rumbleseat, but the level of professionalism and dedication he’s brought to his solo project is worth noting. He’s now released four solo records and built his own momentum beyond the punk rock scene.

Till Midnight maintains the same tone as its predecessor, Covering Ground. It’s generally positive in theme while simultaneously searching for answers and companionship. The majority of the record is influenced by folk and a bit of punk rock road warrior mentality. When the first person is used, which is often, it’s of a “man on the road” point of view, going so far as the second song, aptly titled “Vagabond.” More than anything, Ragan sings what he knows: life on the road as a troubadour with a simple message, as in the opening lines from “Whistleblowers Song,” “We’ve got a whole lot of hate on our hands/ and not enough love to go around.”

The songs are heartfelt and honest, the key elements to the solo style, as it’s his voice that people identify with. If there’s a development with this record, it’s the increasing backing music. He now tours with a full-band and the instrumentation throughout the record always includes more than just a man and his guitar, most often also pulling from drums, bass, fiddle, and harmonica. It’s more full and with less reliance on the acoustic guitar.

That extra instrumentation gives an extra punch, as in “Non Typical,” which pulls in guest vocals from Jenny O. The harmonies play well together, complementing the sound without being overshadowed by the celebrity of a guest appearance. The music is a little bit countrified, but never in a hokey fashion that affects its earnestness, rather it adds nuance and depth as in “Wake with You.” The pedal steel is a nice change of pace and it really stands out here. Overall there is a nice variety of energy, from the ballad “Wake With You” to the upbeat and let-it-soar vocals of “You and Alone,” while the majority rides the current somewhere in between, more relaxed and thoughtful than excited or weary.

7.2 / 10Loren
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment

7.2 / 10

7.2 / 10

Share this content
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
More by Chuck Ragan

Chuck Ragan

Covering Ground

7.5 / 10 Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground album cover

With guest spots from Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem), Chris Phillips (Squirrel Nut Zippers), Frank Turner, Audra Mae, Rick Steff and Todd Neene (Lucero), and Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon), it would ...

Chuck Ragan

Gold Country

8.7 / 10 Chuck Ragan - Gold Country album cover

When Hot Water Music vocalist/guitarist, Chuck Ragan released Feast or Famine, it took a lot of fans by surprise. There have been a lot of punk musicians who form acoustic ...

Chuck Ragan

Los Feliz

8.0 / 10 Chuck Ragan - Los Feliz album cover

Chuck Ragan used to play guitar in Hot Water Music, who happened to be one of my favorite bands of all time. He left Hot Water Music to lead his ...

Related news

Videos Chuck Ragan documentary

Posted July 20, 2019, 11:29 a.m.

A 12-minute documentary focused on musician Chuck Ragan is now available through YouTube. Titled Landsick, the doc focuses on how the Americana musician and Hot Water Music member balances a ...

Shows A one-night revival tour

Posted June 16, 2019, 12:17 p.m.

Fans of the defunct Revival Tour, which featured folk/punk/Americana collaborative sets between Chuck Ragan and his musical friends roughly a decade ago will have a one-night revival of ...

Shows Punk Rock Bowling, Asbury Park

Posted March 30, 2017, 9:27 p.m.

This year, Punk Rock Bowling isn't just taking place over Memorial Day Weekend in Las Vegas, it's also headed east to Asbury Park, NJ. The 3 day line-up ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.