What is it with experienced punk rockers who go solo and turn the volume down a bit? Actually, the result is almost always satisfying, because when they don’t hide behind a wall of noise, you really hear how good their melodies, playing and vocals are. That certainly applies to singer / songwriter Jim Lindberg, who with Pennywise has provided skate punks their soundtrack for the last 30 years. On his acoustic solo debut album Songs From The Elkhorn Trail he lets out a different sound, quiet and intimate. It feels very fitting to his more personal lyrics – about his life story, family and friends, loneliness and alienation, memories of his late father. Although the 12 original songs are not necessarily cheerful, musically they are certainly not depressed – the tracks radiate hope and understanding, as if a good friend puts an arm around you in comfort. Satisfying.
“Hello, goodbye, hello again // Loneliness, you are my only friend // It’s just you and me inside my head”
The album is produced and mixed by Tedd Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Dropkick Murphy’s), and features David Hidalgo Jr. (Social Distortion) on drums, Joe Gittleman (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Avoid One Thing) on bass, and Marc Orrell (The Dropkick Murphy’s, The Walker Roaders) on guitar and keys. Connor Vance (cello, viola, violin) and Glen Marhevka (trumpet) make valuable contributions. The album title and Bob Dob’s cover artwork reflect the fact that many of the songs were written at Jim’s father’s Palm Desert rental house near the Elkhorn Trail.
Songs From The Elkhorn Trail is out now digitally, and May 6 (2022) on CD and vinyl LP, via Epitaph.