Tijuana Bible

Dustin Welch

Super Rooster Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Dustin Welch has returned with his second album, Tijuana Bible. It may seem like an odd title, but it fits much of the album’s content well. A Tijuana Bible is a term that originated in the 1930s work camps of the Great Depression. They were anonymous pornographic comic strips that many times were a take-off on popular comic characters of the day. They were issued in various forms until the early 1960s. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Welch’s lyrics tend to travel on the dark side of life. Here he plays the part of a devious, mysterious, wicked, and always interesting carnival barker. His stories are more concerned with sinners than saints as he spins his tales of the lost, broken, and fragile.

While his music may move in a folk and Americana direction at times, he is at heart a rocker and sometimes he explores a fairly hard direction. He accompanies himself on the acoustic guitar, banjo, and gut-string guitar. Some of his backing musicians are electric guitarist Jeremy Nail, violinist Trisha Keefer, keyboardist Scotty Bucklin, bassist Steve Bernal, and drummer Eldridge Goins. They are a tight group who can be either subtle or thunderous as the occasion calls for.

From the frantic riffs of the opening track, “Ash & Iron,” which he wrote with his father Kevin Welch, to the wailing of the final title track, Welch takes you on an interesting journey through his mind and music. He has managed to cloak his stories in pulsating rhythms that provide a fine counterpoint to each other.

The album was recorded in three days with minimal overdubs, which gives it a live feel. There is intensity to his music and the simple recording process serves his music well.

Welch has charted a number of directions during his career and has played in a number of bands, including the country band the Swindlers and the West Coast Celtic punk band, the Scotch Greens. He has used these experiences to build his style and sound.

Lyrically, Tijuana Bible is not an album for the faint of heart, but the catchy and at times hook-laden music brings it all back toward the midstream. In the final analysis, if you are looking for something inventive and a little different, then this may be an album for you.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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