Local Wire

Paul Westerberg

In the midst of an undervalued solo career that's lasted longer than the Replacements ever did, Paul Westerberg continues to craft durable records for an ever-diminishing cult audience. And while the deceptively titled Folker doesn't perfectly encapsulate aging, parenthood and marriage like his '02 gem, Stereo/Mono, the new album mines similar one-man-band arrangements for an unvarnished, imperfect but charming affair. Rather than turning sappy in his 40s, Westerberg remains confused and petulant about the demands of the real world. The easy cynicism of "Jingle" and "How Can You Like Him?" articulate an outsider's inability to change. But Folker's range in volume best represents Westerberg's willingness to adapt from sensitive observation to desperate energy. On the hushed "Looking Up in Heaven," Westerberg poignantly laments a departed soul. But then on the album closer, "Folk Star," he amps his trusty red guitar one more time, forever refusing to go quietly into that good night.
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Tim Grierson
Contact: Tim Grierson