2015 – SOCAN
By Phillip Smith; Feb 13, 2016
Mr. Rick (aka Rick Zolkower) cleverly walks the line between sin and salvation in his latest release, Mr. Rick Sings About God + Booze. This album presents a wonderful and nostalgic slice of Americana in thirteen delightful tracks. Following in the footsteps of many of the earlier Grand Ole Opry performers, Mr. Rick can dole out a traditional gospel song as convincingly as he can sing out a hell-bent on self-destruction ditty. His style of playing guitar is a pleasure to hear as well.
Each song can pretty much be categorized as either a ‘God’ song, or a ‘Booze’ song, and it’s so much fun to listen to them as they intertwine. The transition from “It’s the Bottle Talking”, an ode to over-indulgence, effortlessly segues into a swinging cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s 1930 gospel song, “You’ll Need Somebody on Your Bond” about making ones way into heaven. I can’t help but sing along to “I’ll Fly Away”, supposedly the most recorded gospel song of all time and Sister Rosetta Tharp’s bluesy classic “Two Little Fishes”.
For an upbeat take on Eric Von Shmidt’s “Champagne Don’t Hurt Me”, Mr. Rick is joined by Drew Jurecka on fiddle, making this one such a big pleasure to hear. Another favorite, Jerrey Irby’s “Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin”, has an uncanny knack for diggin’ right into my brain, only to become hopelessly stuck in my head. For the record, this is one I don’t mind bouncing around my skull.
Who knew music about God and booze would be such a fantastic pairing? Like sweet and salty, it just works, and it works splendidly. Give this album a listen, and let Mr. Rick take you out on Saturday night and bring you to church the next day.