Jim Lindberg seems to work on a new project every few years, whether it be with Pennywise, The Black Pacific, Wraths, writing The Other F Word and being a part of the documentary of the same name. It seems fitting that he takes the time to release a solo album, which has actually slowly been in the making for the past 25 years. The end result, Songs From the Elkhorn Trail, is an offering that is unique from a lot of his turned singer songwriter peers.

Jim Lindberg plays acoustic guitar, but separates himself with songs that are mostly upbeat. There are a few sadder songs thrown in (“Don’t Lay Me Down,” “It’s Only,” and album closer “Long Way to Go”), but even they have a hopeful feel to them. The songs remind me of a group of smiling friends singing around a Fall campfire. Some are complete singalongs (“The Palm of Your Hand,” “You’re Not Alone,” “Hello Again,” “The Basement”) while others are just sit back, listen and enjoy (“I Feel Like the Sun,” “Blood on Your Hands,” “On Fire”). The entire album is solid, giving Lindberg a chance to let his recognizable voice stand out in a different way from his other projects. His soothing tone gives the album a relaxing and comfortable feel.

Jim Lindberg recruited some big names to accompany him on the album. Though not present on every song, drummer David Hidalgo Jr. (Social Distortion), bassist Joe Gittleman (The Mighty, Mighty BossToneS, Avoid One Thing) on bass and guitarist Marc Orrell (The Dropkick Murphy’s, The Walker Roaders) add a punch when they do play. It was an intelligent move to use them sparingly, letting their contributions stand out more.

Songs From the Elkhorn Trail is an album that exceeds expectations. Each song has its own flair; bringing a different listening experience every few minutes while clearly sounding like Jim Lindberg. The album is enjoyable start to finish and will appeal to the fans that have followed him for years while having the potential to impress an entirely new fanbase.

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Epitaph Records

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