Chuck Ragan, in case you weren't aware, is "punk rock's manliest man." The beardy former frontman of Hot Water Music has earned a lot of hero worship, which he seems mildly amused by. There's a ChuckRaganFacts handle on Twitter. Vice's Noisey blog did a video where Andrew Seward (who used to play in Against Me!) goes fishing with Ragan and then they hang out by a campfire.
Hot Water Music was all about post-hardcore ferocity, but Ragan's solo career, launched in the mid-2000s, has focused on gentlerbut still passionateAmericana. Ragan packs his latest album, Til Midnight, with three-minute, driving songs, led by Ragan's gravelly voice and backed with a full band and plenty of pretty fingerpicking and steel guitar. (ChuckRaganFacts warns that side effects of this album include "beard growth, higher tolerance for whiskey and an increased interest in power tools.") Springsteen influences are all over Til Midnight. Every song is just as earnest and sweet as it gets, like on "Wake With You." "You've got all of me if you want it that way," Ragan sings. Even the manliest of men can be in touch with their feelings.
Chuck Ragan plays the Top Hat Thu., April 10, along with White Buffalo. 8 PM. $18/$15 advance.