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Poetry set to country music

The Holy Ranger's Free Hand
The Holy Ranger's Free Hand
By The Holy Ranger and his Blues Rider Band

Flying Fish Records: 1990

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This review first appeared in the June 12, 1992 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

The Holy Ranger tells stories through his music; stories about Americans, Wisconsinites in particular, especially those who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. His half-spoken delivery style is reminiscent of rock's Lou Reed (an Andy Warhol protege), and guitarist Mike Hoffman uses rocklike effects for a '60s-style psychedelic feeling.

The Ranger's tales are more poetic than narrative, often with a style evoking the Beat literature of Jack Kerouc or the surrealism of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. It's a strange world, full of swirling mists and late-night motorcycle rides, the Ranger creates for us, and it's full of magic.

If the above makes you wonder how this could be a country album, you have a good point. But the Ranger's vocal inflection is decidedly rural, and his band – the Blues Rider Band – is a tight, crackerjack outfit that can play with any C∧W combo.

True, this is no ordinary album, and the Holy Ranger is no ordinary country artist – it definitely is not for the faint of heart. But if you're one of those radicals who loves country music and hates Nashville, you might give the Ranger a listen.