Former Montanan Chris Sand, aka "Sand-man the Rappin' Cowboy," can alternately bust out a slick rhyme, or break your heart with his high lonesome, country boy voice. But don't call his latest country-rap. Chemicals in the Wheat is a delightful mixture of indie folk, Americana and country with just a dose of hip-hop flavor—and it's a perfect platform for Sand's impressively flexible writing.
The rap-centric "Buddha Chant" showcases some of Sand's funnier lines by exploring questions of faith with strikingly absurd lyrics. A mix of somberness and happiness cleverly floats "All the Things I Done Wrong," a folk track about coming to terms with a failed relationship and moving on to better things. "Mister, I Can't Save Your Daughter" strikes a bleaker tone, with the story of a man who saves a woman from an abusive relationship by helping her commit suicide. At least that's what I think it's about—Sand's savvy way with words sometimes obscures any clear meaning behind his cowboy poetry. But it's exactly those types of cryptic moments that make Chemicals in the Wheat one of the more intriguing albums I've heard this year.
Chris Sand (as Sandman) plays the Palace with Nima Samimi Wednesday, April 28, at 9 PM. $5.