Jerry Joseph is starting to show his age. Sure, the veteran musician and songwriter hasn't lost any of his tempestuous vitality as he approaches his 50s. But Civility, his recent acoustic collaboration with longtime friend Wally Ingram, exhibits the measured reflection that younger artists rarely portray authentically. The album sounds like a half-century of good and bad times rolled into seven tracks.
That's not to suggest that Civility is a particularly dreary experience. The musicianship makes for a brisk blend of old material, new efforts and a couple of covers. Joseph's experience as a guitarist is evident in his nimble note picking, while his vocal inflections neatly complement the album's tone. Ingram provides percussive support with what sounds like just about every implement that can be shaken, smacked or beaten in a sonically satisfying rhythm.
Covered numbers include M.I.A's "Paper Planes" and Blitzen Trapper's "Furr"—strong songs intriguingly re-imagined. Even so, they don't combine well stylistically or thematically with the original material. Joseph's own pen provides the strongest moments. The man might be getting contemplative about his 50 years spent, but he still sounds hungry for 50 more.
Jerry Joseph and Wally Ingram play the Palace Saturday, Dec. 18, at 9 PM, with Jeff Crosby and The Fumeroles. $8.