Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Stephen Ulrich

  • Music From This American Life [Barbès, 2023] A-

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Music From This American Life [Barbès, 2023]
Especially with Romanian-Israeli drummer Tamir Muskat making his Gypsy racket, guitarist Ulrich's Big Lazy was pretty disruptive. Here well-connected sidemen Thomas Bartlett on keyboards and Dean Sharenow on drums help him fit in on a show that regularly tests without challenging the NPR politesse that permits Ira Glass to tweak if not pump liberal values without making more trouble than is good for him. Since Ulrich gets full composer credit throughout, I congratulate him for having achieved a rare thing--masterminding 10 easy-listening tracks that have certifiably enlivened not just dinner but breakfast at my house. I've always admired his sense of tune. But I'm nonetheless allowed to hope he still has Muskat in his phone. A-