REVIEW: Peter Holsapple’s “Game Day” is His Getting Back in the Album Game After 21 Years

Reviews

You may have heard of Peter Holsapple, one of the founders of power pop cult favorites the dB’s, but chances are you’re more familiar with one of the other bands he’s worked with (R.E.M, Hootie & the Blowfish, and the Continental Drifters, to name a few). Now, twenty-one years since his last solo record, Holsapple pushes himself to the forefront with Game Day (Omnivore). [Read our interview with him by clicking one of these bolded words.]

A coiner of the phrase “omnicana music,” Holsapple also jokes that he played and sang on “99 44/100ths of the notes on this record,” and produced and engineered it himself. This is highlighted not only by the slick wit and melody of the lyrics but also by his nimble guitar prowess. There’s the bluesy swagger of “In Too Deep,” his solo filled with sharp, stinging bends. “Tuff Day” combines a hint of proto-punk with a surfed-out outro, and he puts his stamp on “Them Changes,” written by Buddy Miles and often played when he was drumming with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys.

This is far from a strictly guitar-centric album, however. The title track may be indicative of Holsapple’s current mindset (“If you put me in the game I’ll play / I won’t just fade away”), which is a a lyrical adventure through adulthood. Meanwhile lead single “Commonplace” serves as a message to a decades old girlfriend. “Don’t Mention The War” reflects on an uncle that is utterly shattered after coming back from the war, one that is “Over-thinking til half his mind is gone / Too sad and too mad to tell jokes anymore / And he takes lots of trips to the liquor store.”

Almost 50 years into his career, Holsapple isn’t afraid to take chances, and it’s apparent through the songs that he’s having fun in his craft. As Amanda Shires recently told Rolling Stone, people expect Americana musicians to “play acoustic instruments and be fucking sad all the time.” Thankfully, Holsapple does not adhere to this either, and it’s a refreshing and worthy illustration of what Holsapple is capable of.   Musically, this is uptempo from your standard Americana fare, but we like our definition of Americana to be broad and inclusive. Get your copy here.   https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/peter-holsapple-game-day/

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