case last year's "All the Pretty Girls" by local guy Joe Croker
escaped your notice, go back and listen. It's a sparkling and remarkably varied
Americana project that works on all the key levels — vocally, sonically
Folks hear lots of different influences in Croker's flinty voice, from Steve Earle to Steve Forbert. Certainly however you'll hear potent studies of lives making subtle and not so subtle mid-course corrections. Croker plays a rare Nashville full-band gig tonight at Bluebird Cafe with John Jackson on guitar, Vinnie Santoro on drums and honorary Burrito Brother Tommy Spurlock on bass.
The Kansas City Star
|He'll be playing cuts from "All the Pretty Girls," an exemplary roots-rock, country-folk album that showcases Croker's knack for writing songs that are as engaging and melodic as they are literate.|
The Nashville Scene
|Joe Croker is a gifted folk-pop singer-songwriter who deserves wider exposure ... All the Pretty Girls — produced by Bonnie Raitt sideman George Marinelli Jr. — features 15 tough-minded, slickly recorded tracks that exhibit vision, a naturally eclectic style and a catchy way with hooks and lyrics.|
a debut record from an artist you've never heard of that runs madcap
across aural landscapes, makes you think, and holds your interest over
the course of repeated plays? Then "All the Pretty Girls" is
the next CD you go buy.
Two things soar above the musical mishmash to make the record a standout. One is Croker's voice. Sandpapered and weatherbeaten, deeper for the journey and always on key, these pipes are the most significant instrument "All the Pretty Girls" serves up. Delivery varies with the ever-changing moods as the disc progresses, and hints of vocals from Ray Charles to Jackson Browne abound. The emotions Croker conveys with each track fit perfectly and morph with ease from the world-weary apathy of the title track to the sorrowful menace of "Lost Linda."
Which brings us to the other distinctive facet "All the Pretty Girls" displays. Lyrics that stop you dead in your tracks. This is music that's way too smart for Nashville, even if Music City's smaller stages are where it's currently performed. Joe Croker's love life resume must read like a job application for Larry Flynt Enterprises; an appraisal of love and life and sex and loss this brutal and open just doesn't come around anymore. There's exuberance in "A Better Excuse," righteous anger, indignation and loss in "The Other One," and battle-scarred wisdom in "Mighty Hard Pleasure."
That's the strongest song on an exceptional debut record. The insights get closer to home with each stanza, and Croker sings each line with a strength of conviction that drives the truth into your brainpan with white-hot intensity. Stunning conclusion to an intriguing effort. The mix of genres in itself is surprising; elements of swing, pop, rock, grunge and country run rampant throughout. The skill with which they're parlayed is a pleasant surprise, and the message they carry completes the circle. This is musicianship and songwriting that thumbs its nose at mainstream radio in a fashion normally associated with Jesse Dayton, Scott Miller or Robbie Fulks. Technically speaking it's sound and tight, with competent board work. Musically it's energizing, tantalizing and frankly invigorating. And lyrically it's deep in the accessible and sensible sort of way that made Woody Guthrie an icon. Don't go overboard with the comparison, now, just realize that Joe Croker has made a record that shows a clear grasp of the intricacies of our modern world, one that paints vivid tableaus of our surroundings and makes it clear none of us are really alone unless we choose to be... For intelligence, listenability, beauty, sheer listening enjoyment, "All the Pretty Girls" is the ticket to musical nirvana.
14-song release is pure quality — in every aspect...
The twists and turns of life, the good and bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the sinner and the saint — Joe's words, combined with superb musicianship and production make this one great listening experience — good enough to repeat over and over.
|A new Americana entry from Nashville-based songwriter Joe Croker, "All The Pretty Girls" is a blend of country ballads, rockabilly, folk and pop aimed at both the heart and mind of the listener. Croker's voice carries the emotional appeal, while his lyrics give you something to think about. There's a topical element to some of the songs, reminiscent of the populist appeals of Springsteen or Mellencamp, but Croker displays a wide range of both styles and subjects. It's that range that makes most comparisons less than apt. He's an original, in the best sense of the word.|
|Exuberant, superb, blissful, Joe Croker’s “All The Pretty Girls” is nothing short of wonderful. His music is sort of like 60’s rock and pop with rockabilly overtones, a hint of folk and featuring a dusty, gorgeous Dylan-esque voice. “All The Pretty Girls” features incredible guitar playing and layers of musical perfection as well as producer George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt). “All The Pretty Girls” gets a 10....a perfect 10.|
Dan Coleman at “A” Side Music
email: dan at asidemusic.com
Tony "Baba Dass" Springman
B. Dass Management
email: springman at joecroker.com
Bagatelle Arts Design
email: bagatelle at joecroker.com