Every Monday thru Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Exotic on the Speaker” by Chuck Prophet from his 2009 album ¡Let Freedom Ring! on Yep Roc Records.
¡Let Freedom Ring! is the latest collection of roots-rock come Americana from San Francisco local Chuck Prophet. While Prophet has been fine-tuning his no frills westerly brand of heartland rock for some time now this latest release (on Yep Roc) marks a particularly interesting checkpoint in the travels of such a seasoned artist. Never much for political music per se the summer of 2008 found Prophet writing an album of “political songs for non-political people.” Inspired in part by the early stages of this lovely economic turn we now find ourselves ass-deep in ¡Let Freedom Ring! veers left toward the kind of fiery material its title might suggest. Conscious of the departure Prophet sought to extend his perspective to the next level — laying down his examination of the American Dream outside the confines of his native borders. Recorded in a 50’s era Mexico City studio under the tutelage of Greg Leisz (Wilco, Beck, Emmylou Harris), ¡Let Freedom Ring! gropes for blue collar commonality and truth in self-imposed exile.
“American Man” wears its influences right there on the sleeve: Bob, Elvis (Costello) and Jonathan, to name a few. This track defies singular classification instead mashing together elements of country twang, classic rock simplicity, and backbeat rhythms.
Chuck Prophet is currently touring the East Coast (in Winston-Salem, NC, tonight), but he’ll be over on the west side early next month. Look for him at the Tractor Tavern on December 10th and head over to his MySpace page for other dates. For now, check out the trailer for an upcoming documentary on Chuck Prophet’s trip to Mexico City to record the album: