Will T. Massey & Paul Lippert
By Tom Geddie
Will T. Massey
Democracy For Lovers
The apparent intent of both Wayward Lady and Democracy for Lovers is clear from the album covers: on the former, a close-up painting of a weeping Statue of Liberty and on the latter, a clearly nude Adam and Eve in the apple orchard layered over Tarot cards for the knight and the hangman. The songs – recorded before November’s presidential election – mix cynicism about the recent past with hope for the coming years.
Of the two gentle-sounding, folk-based CDs, the lyrics on Austinite Will T. Massey’s are the more consistently in your face. On Wayward Lady, his eighth CD, he yearns for the national values he says he was raised to believe in.
The album deals with bringing the troops home, freedom of speech, the effects of undue corporate influence, and on “Peace Train” – a poignant, personal story of his stepsister’s deployment to Iraq – love. The title song compares America to a wicked woman he loves. Along with eight original songs, he interprets Michael Martin and Bill Carroll’s “Hooker with a Purple Heart” and Pink Floyd’s “The Gunner’s Dream.”
Accompanying Massey are some of Austin’s finest, including Will Sexton on bass, Marvin Dykhuis on electric and slide guitar and mandolin, and Richard Bowden on fiddle.
The Seattle-based Lippert’s fifth album was inspired by Texas political columnist Molly Ivins’ death in 2007 – he pledged to help “keep the fires of outrage burning” for truth and against hypocrisy. His voice is smoothly sincere. The album’s sound is just to the right of rock and to the left of pop.
On “Years of Peace,” Lippert looks forward to a time when guns gather rust. On “I’ve Got a Brick,” he wonders whether to throw it or build with it. On the questioning “Last Time I Looked,” he parses the lines that supposedly separate humans from other animals.
With the nation, the world, and a new president facing massive problems, both of these albums, whether they stoke the fires or not, at least remind listeners about choices to face rather than ignore.