Punishing the Myth
GatorBone Records 105

Woody Guthrie reminded us that it takes a worried man to sing a worried song. On Punishing the Myth, Grant Peeples’ fifth release and third album produced by Gurf Morlix, the restless sage of Sopchoppy, Fla., shows he’s been worrying about a lot of things lately. On the piercing spoken word piece “High Octane Generation,” which throws bones of homage to Dylan and the poet John Ashberry, Peeples worries about a nation that has “learned to live without beauty,” opting instead to sit on sandy banks and “watch the river flow black and backwards.” Peeples casts lobbyists and real estate developers to type as money grubbin’ villains in “The New American Dream,” but also indicts the too-easily-distracted 99-percenters. There’s kvetching over the good times a-changing with the plaintive “It’s Too Late to Live in Austin.” But it’s the crippling fear of coming up short in the truth-seeking quest that is at the heart of the album’s standout track, “Training in the Chartel Ground.” Like the song’s protagonist, Peeples clearly understands that the poet’s job is to continue to “wrap his fist around that pencil” and simply keep at it. As long as Peeples keeps his pencils as sharp as his insights, we’ll keep listening. — D.C. BLOOM