How you accept Songs of Man
depends on preconceptions of how you think (or want) this band to look and feel. In other words, do you want the rugged rawness of the old or the layered polish of the new? Deep down, little has changed. The songwriting is still the gold-standard of storytelling in the old-country tradition. But do you want those songs dressed up in designer jeans (a la Fleetwood Mac on “Waiting on Another”) or in the dirty tattered pair on “Everybody Wins” and “Black Gold”? Most bands eventually struggle with the dilemma of needing to up the ante production-wise, the trick is to not lose oneself in the process. For the most part this album succeeds due to Simone Schmidt’s strong voice and the group’s compelling writing. But Songs of Man
does mark a turning point and ultimately we must trust One Hundred Dollars to know how it should grow.