Listening Party “Been A Long Time Comin'”

Independent, 2023

A generous slice of Mid-Western Country Americana.

The start of this thoughtful album sounds exactly as if you are sitting down to watch a Western movie with its very clean picking guitar and haunting harmonica. The opening lines of ‘Ain’t so Bad’ reinforce this: “She rounded me up like cattle and then she put me to bed. In the morning she was gone like the wind”. You can just imagine sitting around a crackling campfire listening to this duo in fine voice playing their songs of life, love, hope, and despair.

Based in Milwaukee Listening Party are Jacob Wood and Weston Mueller. They have been together since 2013 and have undergone several personnel changes, making a tough decision to move forward as a duo after lockdown. ‘Been A Long Time Comin’ is their first album in four years and their fourth in total. The title emphasises the personal difficulties they have to get to this stage. It was recorded in a 19th-century chapel with wonderful acoustics.

Mueller’s vocals are clear and consistent throughout with a mid-western twang that suits the construction of their songs perfectly. They are accented by Woods’s sublime harmonica and Church piano. Both have been honed by being on the road regularly, playing over 120 a year from dive bars to regular stage performances throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.

The album features some deeply personal lyrics, none more so than ‘Same Ol Problems’. It documents the struggles of a close friend with addiction, highlighting the hope of recovery pitted against the despair of numerous setbacks: “From rehab to relapse it’s always the same old problems”. The tempo of the song ebbs and flows reflecting the difficulty of the journey.

‘Back Luck’ explores the fear of the unknown they felt coming out of the pandemic as a duo: “Don’t it always seem to happen, just before the headline goes to print. “You open the front page and the worlds a different place, it looks like nobody cares,” Mueller sings. The laconic harmonica on the track adds to the sense of foreboding.

Altogether this is an eminently listenable album, which (as so many are) is borne out of the difficulties lockdown created not only for travelling musicians but society as a whole, with it the band attempt to take the pulse of the complexities of life from the highest highs to the lowest lows. Most of all, they remind us that we’re all in this together and it’s truly a listening party for all to enjoy. Keep those campfires burning.


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