Review Summary: While his previous albums were more of a drinking alone sort, Till Midnight is a grand old time with friends at your favorite dive bar.
Chuck Ragan’s solo work has always been cathartic. His compositions have always been pretty bare-bones, letting his vocals and lyrics soar above all. This has worked for quite a while, but it seems, like his contemporary Frank Turner, that Chuck has decided he wants a fuller sound. Frank finally embraced the idea of evolving his sound to that of an actual band with England Keep My Bones
, and Chuck has done the same on Till Midnight
. Ragan has transformed his own sound from that of a folk artist with country flourishes to that of a bar band, albeit a fantastic one. This change has revitalized Ragan, who sounds like he is really having fun on Till Midnight
. Previous albums have been marked by pain and regret, but here there is more of an air of camaraderie (incidentally the name of his backing band), almost as if he has decided to enjoy the now. Listening to Till Midnight
feels like walking into your favorite dive with your friends and sharing some whiskey and laughs.
is a warm and inviting summer album, Chuck telling stories and the guys behind him playing jaunty tunes. He has always had an authentic and genuine aura, except for the first time in a decade it is put forth in an exciting way, as opposed to the introspection that he put forth in the years of Hot Water Music’s inactivity. This is also the first solo album released since Hot Water Music’s Exister
, which had a positive reception and was accompanied by an extremely successful tour, so that might be the reason for this new Chuck Ragan. It isn’t too often that joy and contentment is translated so successfully into one’s sound, so in that regard Till Midnight
might be the biggest success of Chuck’s decade long solo career. Grab a couple friends, a bottle of whiskey, and let the cares wash away to Till Midnight
’s celebration of life.