Every Day Is Judgment Day

Blind Willies

CD Baby 2014

Review by David Bowling

The first time I played this album, I thought of Phil Ochs. The music is nothing like that of Ochs, who was a guitarist/singer/songwriter/folksinger. The lyrics, however, convey a political awareness and anger in places as they offer critical appraisals of the past, present, and future and above all they tell a story and that is where the connection to Ochs comes from.

The Blind Willies began as a duo but by 2011 had morphed into a band. They consist of vocalist/songwriter/ guitarist Alexei Wajchman, cello player Misha Khalikulov, keyboardist/trumpet player Max Miller-Loran, drummer Alex Nash, and bassist/flutist Daniel Riera. The variety and combinations of instruments not only make the music interesting but the lyrics give everything a purpose.

Their approach is not for the faint of heart. Their blend of rock, blues, and Americana belie the messages contained inside. The opening track, “Cremo Tango” is a jaunty tale of World War II German death camps. This is followed by “42 Jews,” which keeps the intense nature of the music intact.

The underlying theme that runs through the album is a defense of freedom, which includes an exploration of what freedom is not. They only lighter moment is the album ending track “Big City,” which originated from Wajchman’s singing songs with children and it is a welcome inclusion and a good way to end the album.

Every Day Is Judgement Day by the Blind Willies does not comprise it’s messages. Will they be able to break through to the mainstream remains to be seen as the 15 tracks tend to leave the listener exhausted. Still, there is always a place in music for artists who travel outside of the mainstream to present their point of view.

Somewhere Phil Ochs is smiling.

Rating: ***1/2