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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008

Jim Schwall

Getting Old: Live (Uvulittle Records)

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Madison-based blues singer/guitarist Jim Schwall proves that getting old doesn’t mean getting soft around the edges. In fact, one-half of the revered Siegel- Schwall Band—and more recently, a member of Marques Bovre’s latest group, SoDangYang—bursts with cynicism on this collection of 14 acoustic tunes recorded live at coffeehouses in Madison and Deerfield.

In a half-sung, half-spoken voice, the 65-year-old jokes about his wife, who “has to coax me to perform” (“Getting Old”), mocks an imaginary band called Rubber Crutch (“Sometimes You Just Have To Take What You Can Get”) and recounts the cheap thrills of being a working-class musician (“Rock ’n’ Roll Man”). But the highlight is Schwall’s take on Ed Haynes’ “Rude,” a funny diatribe about one man’s you-better-believeit experience while dining alone in a family restaurant. A swaggering saunter characterizes many of these songs, carried by Schwall’s witty lyrics and candid delivery.