Arthur Alligood has stitched together an excellent patchwork of songs on his new album One Silver Needle. As one of the best singer-songwriters in Americana, he has rightfully been dubbed the 2011 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest winner, and, as the winner, Alligood earned the opportunity to work with veteran producer Mikal Blue and ace musicians like drummer Jim Keltner (John Lennon, George Harrison, Bob Dylan), bassist Leland Sklar (James Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne) and guitarist Michael Ward (Ben Harper, The Wallflowers).
How it took this long for him to be recognized is beyond me because Alligood has been creating some of the best lo-fi Americana for about a decade and continues to do so but in a more polished manner on One Silver Needle. Instrumentally, the album is flawless. Vocally, Alligood is at his best. And, featuring a variety of styles that wasn’t often heard on previous albums, if heard at all, One Silver Needle shows considerable growth and allows the listeners to hear what Alligood is capable of doing. Kicking off the album with the roots rocker “Shouldn’t Be That Hard”, the listeners know they’re not getting the same Alligood, but one with more range and oomph. He returns to this roots raucous mid-album with “Go On Back”. The steady beat of the drums mixed with electric guitar and organ sustains and builds the story. Alligood keeps the great stories going with one about a small-town teenager’s desire to leave on the country-like “We Had To Run.” Continuing with outstanding songwriting, the country shuffle on the title track creates the perfect backdrop for the hopeful lament. Then, closing out the album are “Ochlockonee” and “Right Time Rain,” where Alligood ends One Silver Needle with his characteristically gentle and soft way.
One Silver Needle is most certainly worthy of Mountain Stage endorsement and it’s Arthur Alligood’s best work to date. By sewing together a string of excellent songs, his title “One of the Best Singer-Songwriters in Americana” becomes “His Excellency of Songwriting.”
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“One Silver Needle”