Preview We're All In This Together by Hard Working Americans
We're All In This Together by Hard Working Americans
The newest album from Hard Working Americans, We’re All In This Together, documents the magic that happens when a band whips the crowd and itself to a fever pitch of wailing rock and roll ecstasy.
Often described as a rock supergroup, the band is fronted by singer-songwriter Todd Snider and includes a stellar cast: bassist and producer Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), guitarists Neil Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood) and Jesse Aycock, keyboardist Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and drummer Derek Trucks (Widespread Panic). Together, individual members’ talents add up to something greater than the sum of their parts.
We’re All In This Together does not contain any new tunes. Virtually all of the songs on the recording appear on one of the band’s two studio albums or one of Snider’s solo records. In fact, four of the tracks here—“I Don’t Have A Gun,” “Run A Mile,” “Another Train” and “Stomp & Holler”—also appeared on the group’s 2015 live album, The First Waltz, making this the third time that these songs have been included on a release. But the point of the album is not new music; it’s inspired new performances. And it delivers. Ten of the 13 tracks come from one night at the Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama, when the band was clearly firing on all cylinders.
The heart of the album is a three-track stretch of music that segues from a fiery version of “Another Train” to a band-origin myth and introductions by Snider over a funky vamp that becomes “Is This Thing Working” before ending with a closing coda of “Another Train.” The 16-minute performance captures the band in all its power—explosive rock and roll, a funk breakdown, an apocryphal story by Snider in his rock and roll preacher persona and turn-on-a-dime jams.
On occasion, the thrill of the moment threatens to overwhelm the song. For example, on “Is This Thing Working,” a tale of a schoolyard bully that is clearly meant as metaphor for a certain global superpower fighting smaller adversaries, the pace of the music pushes Snider to rush the final lines, robbing the song of some of its conceptual punch. But it’s a small price to pay for the excitement
Slower songs, such as “Roman Candles” and “High Price of Inspiration,” burn with notable intensity, too. Guitarists Casal and Aycock play tightly-coiled lines that intertwine with keyboardist Stahley’s work, all of it driven by solid backing from the rhythm section of Trucks and Schools. Like any good live album, the crowd plays an important part in the recording—responding to Snider’s provocations, singing along and cheering the band’s pyrotechnics.
If you have never seen the Hard Working Americans in concert and want to catch up (or you did see one of their shows and want to relive the excitement), you will find all the head-banging fun of their live show here.