Greg Graffin
Cold as the Clay


3.5
great

Review

by Are You A Wizard? USER (19 Reviews)
December 5th, 2008 | 16 replies | 3,900 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Great traditional acoustic/folk album from the Bad Religion frontman.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

For any punk fan, the name Greg Graffin will be pretty much ingrained into their memory as one of the greats of the genre. For nigh on thirty years Graffin has been the front man for Bad Religion. However as his PHDs and Master’s degree show, he is not your conventional punk front man. This is further explored with his second solo album “Cold As The Clay”. The album is a combination of acoustic and traditional folk songs performed by Graffin accompanied by a small backing band featuring guest members. This is different from his 1997 release “American Lesion” where he recorded the entire album himself. The album was produced by fellow Bad Religion member Brett Gurewitz.

Opener "Don't Be Afraid To Run" immediately introduces itself with a memorable harmonica line played by Graffin and is backed by an acoustic guitar. The lyrics deal with the corruption of a once idyllic town and how Graffin is teling his ‘Darling’ not to be afraid of leaving to escape the changes. Graffin’s vocal performance is very well done and he has a solid singing voice which has been honed through many years of touring and performing.
"Omie Wise" is worthy of mention as the whole song consists of Graffin with an acoustic guitar and no other backing. The guitar is some basic finger picking and chords, which means that the main focus is given to the vocals which again are well done whilst telling the story of a young girl’s murder in the old country. Other notable tracks include “The Highway of Denial” and “California Cotton Fields”. The former is an upbeat song featuring a banjo and lyrics about growing up on a family cotton field and the latter being a more downcast song featuring a mandolin which gives the track an eastern feeling.

Whilst all of the songs on the album are of the same folk/acoustic stylings, they are all given enough nuances which make them individually different and this helps to keep the album flowing. There are also occasional female backing vocals by Jolie Holland which again brings some variation to the album.As the album is made up of older folk songs the lyrics cover many subjects including religion, love, hard working traditions and values.

The production of the album is well handled by Gurewitz. A vast array of instruments are used over the course of the album and the production ensures that the instruments are clear and crisp whilst also maintaning a "live" feel. Graffin’s vocals are definitely the focus of this album as they are placed more towards the front of the mix.
The production also helps to bring a feeling of a tavern performance feeling and you can tell that all the musicians involved enjoying placing this type of music and this in turn gives the songs warmth and conveys this to the listener.

Overall, Cold As The Clay is a complete departure from his Bad Religion performances but gives an insight into music that influenced him as a child and more than likely contributed to BR’s catalogue even if not entirely noticeably.
This is a perfect album if you want something laid back to relax or work to. It may not appeal to Graffin’s more traditional punk fans but I definitely recommend it to fans of Bad Religion’s acoustic work.

Recommended Tracks:
-Don’t Be Afraid To Run
-Omie Wise
-California Cotton Fields
-The Highway Of Denial



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Phantom
December 5th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One down, four to go. Review may be too short as I've been snowed under with university work but I wanted to get this done.
Hopefully I managed to get my point across despite being brief. Let me know of any typos/errors. Feeedback is appreciated as well.

username345
December 5th 2008



594 Comments


I prefer American Lesion. This has some great songs like 'Don't Be Afraid to Run', but I don't like 'California Cotton Fields' and some others at all.

Phantom
December 5th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prefer this. I think California Cotton Fields is good. Each to their own.

bastard
December 5th 2008



3435 Comments


connect and/or separate some of these paragraphs plz.

Phantom
December 5th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is that any better? If not, what sections do you suggest need sorting.

Willie
Moderator
December 6th 2008



15774 Comments


Is that any better? If not, what sections do you suggest need sorting.
There are still spacing issues on the third and sixth paragraph. Nice review though. I love Bad Religion but have always been hesitant to buy Greg's solo stuff.

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DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2008



20818 Comments


Phantom, you have the makings of a pretty good review here as it is quite informative and at times very clear.. But it reads a little awkwardly at times. The paragraph spacing doesn't help and some sentences have grammatical errors (see the 1st sentence of your concluding paragraph).

Phantom
December 6th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the comments. I thought there might be errors in the review. It was written fairly quickly in the spare time I had.
I'm planning on going over it and fixing the paragraph errors and maybe fleshing it out a little bit more when I get a break from my university assignments.

Phantom
December 6th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shameless bump. I might rewrite this over christmas and add a bit more detail. I just wanted to get it up and probably missed some important factors out.

I'd like feedback on if the content is poor or if the layout is poor, maybe even both, if anyone can be bothered.

bastard
December 6th 2008



3435 Comments


it's the layout mostly. You've just got it way to spaced out. You need to combine stuff together to form decent sized paragraphs. It looks nice, flashy, and most of all, it's easier to read.

Phantom
December 6th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, well I have a feeling that if I combine all the sections together, I'm going to end up with a really short review, but if the content is ok I suppose it won't matter. I deifnitely plan on putting some more detail into this but for now I'll try and sort the layout.

bastard
December 6th 2008



3435 Comments


the details are pretty good, just don't say 'good' or 'great' much in your reviews and you're set.

Phantom
December 6th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think I did, if I did, it was completely unintentional. Rechecking now. Thanks for the suggestions as well.

Phantom
February 4th 2009



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bump?

Sciroccu
November 6th 2011



730 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sympathetic, especially "omie wise", "little saddie" and "don't be afraid to run"

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gocsa666
April 13th 2013



71 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A great album.



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