Hard Working Americans: We’re All in This Together (Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers)

Hard Working Americans
We’re All in This Together
(Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers)

Celebrated singer-songwriter Todd Snider leads this high-profile lineup featuring Dave Schools (bass) Duane Trucks (drums), both of Widespread Panic respectively; Neal Casal (guitar) of Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood; Chad Staehly (keyboards) of Great American Taxi; and Jesse Aycock (guitar). The bonified “jam band supergroup” demonstrates how they achieved their moniker, Hard Working Americans, on this new live album ‘Were All in This Together.’

The 12-track album comes from an unforgettable show at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama, recorded by monitor engineer Colin Cargile during the band’s 2016 Rest in Chaos tour.

With a swirling ferocity of musical exploration and pure muscular power which showcases the talents of each induvial, ‘Were All in This Together’ is full of energy through interweaving instrumental passages and frenzy inducing chorus calls.

Snider leads the ensemble with his energized every man vocal style that is one-part holy ghost tent revival preacher, political crusader and mass group therapist. His tirades target every aspect of the great American experiment by calling out both sides of the aisle on their short comings and proud achievements as he calls this “the campaign to reinstate the natural laws of absurdity to their original upright and locked positions -as we are like yourselves Hard Working Americans.”

The rhythm section gets the engine running with the percolating second line beat of album opener “Mission Accomplished,” then Snider pleads his case during the mood shifting “I Don’t Have a Gun,” before rallying the troops during the hillbilly funk anthem “Stomp and Holler.” Influences from the Dead and Pink Floyd can be felt on the orchestrated numbers “Roman Candles,” and “Ascending into Madness.” The guitars dig deep on the heavy blues of “Burn Out Shoes,” and “Another Train,” before Snider goes into full on sermon mode over the boogie vamp of “We’re All in This Together.”

The live set ends with the southern rocker “Run A Mile,” featuring glorious duel guitar leads and a double time coda. A raucous cover of Chuck Berry classic “School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)” is added as a bonus to the fine collection.