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Monday, June 9, 2008

John Sieger

The Shaming of the True (Faux Real)

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  For more than two decades John Sieger has been cranking out great songs, ranging from tunes for the R&B Cadets and Semi-Twang to a string of solo albums. The man oozes soul, and his talent is not in question. Even still, Sieger and co-writer Michael Feldman’s gems too often fly under the radar.

  Recorded in Nashville and Milwaukee and including nearly a dozen players, The Shaming of the True runs the gamut from the jazzy blues of “You Just Can’t Hate the World,” which recalls Mose Allison at his most droll, to the thumping rockabilly kiss-off of “Lots of Cleopatras on the Nile.” A pair of tunes draft arrangements with horns—“I Married Money” blends drummer Phil Lee’s trumpet riffs with Sieger’s understated guitar solo and the leadoff track “Warm Welcome in a Cold Town” builds from Phil Clark’s insistent sax lines. The offhand timelessness of Sieger’s writing is on full display with “Nashville 2-Pt. Tragedy,” a duet with Rosie Flores in homage to the Countrypolitan sound of ’60s Nashville, and “Goodbye For Good,” featuring Frogwater’s Susan Nicholson on fiddle and John Nicholson on resonator guitar for an old-timey stomp that conjures a Saturday-night house party in Memphis in the days before rock ’n’ roll took over.

  It’s not a stretch to mention Sieger with the likes of John Hiatt and Nick Lowe, especially when the guy is capable of a song like “St. John,” which bottles a dark-night hoodoo vibe and makes you proud that he’s a local talent.