Imagine Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits decided they were going to utilize their immense skills and play God. They would meet in a dingy roadhouse, drink a few pitchers, and will a legion of blue-collar musicians into existence. If we lowly humans were lucky, Messrs. Springsteen and Waits would give us something like The Hold Steady.
Luckily, The Hold Steady found its way naturally without those rock deities I worship providing anything beyond inspiration. The New York band recently released its fifth album, entitled Heaven is Whenever, and, as can be expected with this band, it’s excellent.
Frontman Craig Finn and his merry band of men continue their journey through pub rock and Beat poetry with stories about drinking and habitual drug use and the effects those extracurricular activities have on the denizens of their lives, and they do it in catchy fashion.
Songs like “Hurricane J” and “Our Whole Lives” have the history or rock ‘n’ roll pulsing in their veins. They make me happy, and I bet they will make you happy, too. But, as seems to be the band’s tradition, the first song on the album is the one that really draws you in. Its name is “The Sweet Part of the City” and it is amazing. Check it out.