MICHAEL STANLEY > Just Another Night
Label: LINE LEVEL
The Heartland’s been reduced to unseen flyover. Not hip enough, nor glamorous enough? Is there a place for hard-working man and woman to get by? For Michael Stanley, the Cleveland rocker who got close, but never quite, it is a fertile reality for consideration-and with a Telecaster slung low, he tears into dead-end dreams, deals made with fate and the reckoning of lives lived as best as could be, evoking River-era Springsteen. Whether it’s politically biting indictment “Lap Dogs Dance,” marital erosion “Throwing Shadows,” exhortative “Somebody Do Something” and “The Only Time That Matters” or the shrinking opportunities of “Angelina,” there’s urgency to the tracks and passion to the voice. The tour de force is the reckoning of a life more lived than to left “Winter,” which considers the consequences and weighs victories for what they were rather than weren’t. An article of faith in a time of falter… A witness to what could be, if only we’ll pay attention.