Chuck Prophet, one of the best songwriters working today, takes the stage at 8x10 tomorrow night, and it would be worth your while to attend. If you're not familiar with Prophet, think of a desperate--at times, despairing--Tom Petty, a guy who knows real heartbreak as opposed to Heartbreakers. Instead of hanging out with Wilburys and assorted rock icons, Prophet, who cut his teeth with Green On Red, is more likely to associate with the likes of Dylan's "brother" (Jim Dickinson) and the fellow who played drums on "Born to Run" (Ernest "Boom" Carter). He has good taste in such things.
In fact, Carter drums on Prophet's new disc, Let Freedom Ring, which is one of the best rock records released this year. It was recorded in Mexico, where the band endured a swine flu outbreak, an earthquake, and numerous black-outs. Somehow, that all sounds like the perfect setting for a Prophet record, and the disc's 11 songs reflect contemporary unease with disarming honesty and an honorable swagger. In fact, "You and Me Baby (Holding On)" has my vote as Best New Depression Song, with its plain spoken and unsentimental narrator who went to apply for a job and found "the whole store was gone."
I'm also partial to a guy who'd write a song called "Where the Hell Is Henry?"
The doors open at 7 pm tomorrow, and June Star, one of Baltimore's finest roots bands, is opening. So get there early and don't miss an excellent double bill.
[photo: courtesy Yep Roc Records]