Bob Wire crafts stories of bars, cars, guitars and love like a good alt-country singer should. In Sentimental Breakdown, his 2008 album, he adeptly tongue-and-cheeked his way through songs about Jesus and wild women, and his latest, Buffaload, snares some of that same quirky humor. Songs like "Sh*t List" (about, among other things, his neighbor's dog taking dumps on his lawn) carry just enough witticisms to be smart, not cheesy. And "Vision in Neon"—sung with local favorite Tom Catmull—perfectly exemplifies deadpan storytelling with a wink.
Thing is, I like my Bob Wire tossed with sass and sarcasm. I do. But it's when he plays it more serious in an "American-Pie" or "Hands-on-the-Wheel" way that he blows me away. In "Bread," for instance, he sings, "Millions of Americans are livin' off the grid, we don't give a damn how the stock market did." And in "Out on the Salt" (sung with local Richie Reinholdt) he lopes through a story of first jobs, pick-up trucks and "a beauty" named Amanda.
Buffaload wouldn't be Bob Wire without barbed one-liners and ridiculous scenarios. But his songs of recession and the desert-emptiness of lost love give him depth without shedding his defiant charm.
Bob Wire plays his CD release party at the Union Club Friday, Aug. 7, at 9:30 PM. Free.