2Ton Bridge Goes From Roots to Surreal On Eponymous Debut (ALBUM REVIEW)


2tonbridgeIt’s not exactly a name that infers any sort of immediate connection, but the nom de plume of singer, songwriter and actor Alexander Wright does apparently have a nostalgic inference, at least for Wright himself. According to his bio, the original 2Ton Bridge was a road that connected the farm where he was raised in Maryland with his local community and, in essence, the outside world itself. With that in mind, this eponymous debut functions as a kind of reflective musing on the world at large, one that comes in the form of a ruminative meditation on matters of everyday consequence.

At first, Alexander seems to following in the footsteps of any number of vintage folkies — Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and other rustic troubadours who depended only on a guitar, banjo and their words of wisdom to get their message across. And while there’s a certain mellow timbre to the music — the whimsical “I’m a Hoot Owl, the serene narrative “Post Hole Digger” and the deep, dense “Last Winter” in particular — these are more than the mere campfire songs that they bring to mind, at least on the initial listen. Where the album starts out in a bluegrass vein, it eventually ends of in more cerebral and surreal terrain, Wright’s voice often bringing Scott Walker or Nick Cave courtesy of his arched and ominous croon.

Produced and arranged by Marvin Etzioni of Lone Justice fame, 2Ton Bridge becomes an auspicious debut, partly a collection of vagabond folk songs, partly an effort aimed at evoking darker circumstance. Consequently, it’s somewhat confounding as a result. It will be interesting to see where Wright ventures next, and if he has the wherewithal to continue to toy with his archival format. One gets the feeling that wherever he rambles, 2Ton Bridge is bound to offer the same heft as before.


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