14 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mike Ness is Social Distortion. Guitarist Jonny Wickersham returns on guitar and the rhythm section of bassist Brent Harding and session drummer Josh Freese keeps things tight and focused, but this is the Mike Ness show. It’s primarily his songs and it’s his vocals that identify these tunes. His snarl grants great empathy to the Wickersham co-write “Far Side of Nowhere,” a driving sorrow to the cover of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” and a defiant pride to “Still Alive.” The guitars are pure Social Distortion as they buckle behind with a crunchy distortion that floats somewhere between punk and country music. “Can’t Take It With You” adds a backing choir who evoke gospel motifs. The characters in these songs are, as one title implies, “Diamond In the Rough.” They’ve been to hell or jail and back. Much like Ness’ hero, Johnny Cash, the music is fused with a strong sense of mortality. Ness saved the best for last, as the bonus cuts on the Deluxe Edition of the album are among the three strongest tracks, including the acoustic-based “Down Here (With the Rest of Us).”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mike Ness is Social Distortion. Guitarist Jonny Wickersham returns on guitar and the rhythm section of bassist Brent Harding and session drummer Josh Freese keeps things tight and focused, but this is the Mike Ness show. It’s primarily his songs and it’s his vocals that identify these tunes. His snarl grants great empathy to the Wickersham co-write “Far Side of Nowhere,” a driving sorrow to the cover of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” and a defiant pride to “Still Alive.” The guitars are pure Social Distortion as they buckle behind with a crunchy distortion that floats somewhere between punk and country music. “Can’t Take It With You” adds a backing choir who evoke gospel motifs. The characters in these songs are, as one title implies, “Diamond In the Rough.” They’ve been to hell or jail and back. Much like Ness’ hero, Johnny Cash, the music is fused with a strong sense of mortality. Ness saved the best for last, as the bonus cuts on the Deluxe Edition of the album are among the three strongest tracks, including the acoustic-based “Down Here (With the Rest of Us).”

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