With ‘The Big Five-O’, Derek Senn is able to continue his high-level satirical Americana streak.
There is definitely a specific trait that can be found in Americana music – that of satirical/humorous storytelling. Many artists have tried their hand at it and, as might be expected, many have failed. There are two possible reasons for this. One, you have to have an acute sense of humour with possibly a soupçon of satire. Two, you have to accompany the words with with some varied, quality music. Very few artists are able to reach the hallowed levels of this sub-genre and follow in the footsteps of such masters as the late, great John Prine.
Californian Derek Senn might not be Joh Prine, but with his fourth outing ,‘The Big Five-O’, he is not only trying hard but is getting closer by a few notches. He dutifully pays respect to Prine here with ‘Trickle Down To Thee’. He demonstrates his excellent sense of humour with ‘Quarantine’, certainly knows to differentiate it from satire (‘Zeitgeist’), fit himself into a humorous setting with ‘Big In Britain’ and is able to give his words a varied musical foil that any good Americana requires. He gives the title track that inimitable square dance treatment just for good measure.
Whether Derek Senn is big in the UK or anywhere else might be a moot point at the moment, but the fact remains – he should be exactly that.