Ed Kuepper’s recent acoustic request tour inspired him to sit down and record a collection of the songs that worked the best, providing a good overview of his storied 40-year career in the process.

With just his voice, an acoustic guitar, and a few other backing instruments here and there, Kuepper attempts to cast his songs in a different light and succeeds. Kuepper’s voice is sometimes a little thin for this setting, but he more than makes up for it with his incredibly evocative guitar playing. 

 

Some songs here, such as The Saints’ ‘Swing For The Crime’, are punk songs played acoustically, creating a type of urgent folk. Others seem to have been made specifically for this format, such as the spot-on Skip James cover ‘Cypress Grove Blues’ and Laughing Clowns’ ‘Eternally Yours’. The arguable highlight of the set is ‘No Regrets’. Originally by Tom Rush, the mournful lyrics benefit from Kuepper’s straightforward voice, and he makes the song his own.

 

The collection will no doubt please long-time Kuepper fans, but it also has the added benefit of acting like a greatest hits sampler for intrigued music enthusiasts looking for a way into Kuepper’s career.

 

4/5.

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