Jim Lindberg is perhaps better well known for his work with famed punk band Pennywise, with Jim being the usual vocalist for the band (although he has taken time away from Pennywise at times). He’s also embarked upon a solo career with Songs From The Elkhorn Trail being his latest release, as well as the first solo album I’ve heard from him.
By Jane Howkins
The album is a very personal offering, with the lyrics seeing Jim turning inwards. In Pennywise his lyrics tend to veer towards the political, although he has always had a philosophical bent to his musings. His father sadly passed away of Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 and that has contributed greatly to the lyrical content on the album, as his father was very supportive of his musical dreams.
In terms of musicality, the tracks here have a much softer feel to them than the music Jim creates in his day job. The songs here have acoustic guitars instead of electric ones, with a folky, singer-songwriter vibe running throughout the album. Don’t Lay Me Down is particularly beautiful and the violin in the background adds a haunting feel to it. There are more upbeat songs, such as Not One Of Them & I Feel Like The Sun (which somehow also gave me a Biffy Clyro feel) but they’re still largely pop-rock songs with a folk bent. The trumpet was also a nice surprise here.
Blood On Your Hands has a Bruce Springsteen vibe to it, with a harmonica instantly introducing the song. The rhythm has a country stomp to it and the main chord sequence is beautiful and despite being rather simplistic sounding at first, this was one of my favourite songs on the entire album. Opener The Palm Of Your Hand is possibly the closest thing to a punk song on here, but it’s still nowhere near anything Pennywise have ever done (although this isn’t a criticism by any means).
Songs From The Elkhorn Trail is a great album and it’s fantastic to hear a punk singer branching out into different styles of music. Fans of Pennywise might be a little turned off at times but the spirit of their music is still present in these tracks and it’s all written very well, so give it a chance and you should find something to love here!