Music » CD Reviews

The Waco Brothers

Freedom and Weep (Bloodshot)

Since avant-leftist Jon Langford had already been toiling for some 15 years with England's seminal punk-to-country collective the Mekons when he resettled in Chicago and formed the Waco Brothers, the sextet at first seemed like a momentary indulgence in the twangy roots rock that the Mekons had moved beyond. But this seventh album celebrates the Waco Brothers' 10th anniversary by proving the transformative power of Langford's sense of musical community.

So the sidemen in this not-so-side project now take over some of the creative responsibility, as Langford spreads his attention among numerous ventures, including paintings, solo albums, the ever-evolving Mekons, and a young family. Though he comes up with a couple of killer tunes, the bluntest Bush bashes are written by Deano Schlabowske, who once preferred personal portraits. The band's other displaced Brit, Tracy Dear, who used to specialize in change-of-pace ballads, pens Freedom's two damn-the-contradictions anthems. One is about a workingwoman's rock-and-roll "Fantasy"; the other, about coming a long way to raise a glass with an old mate. Hear, hear. -- Franklin Soults The Waco Brothers, with Rambler 454. Wednesday, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.