Ed Dupas is American to the bone. He was born in Houston, Texas, raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is now based in Detroit from where his promoters speak awkwardly of him "opening the door to his soul wide for the listener to see."
Unfortunately, the rest of his press release is full of such platitudes (and plain bad writing) informing us that his music is "crafted from the heart"; "simple yet soulful"; "rooted in both realism and idealism" and "well worn wide awake."
The clichés come thick and fast in his songs too as he makes plain that, at the end of the day, he is one lost and lonesome cowboy. There are no prizes for guessing that the songs were written after breaking up with his long-time partner.
The album was produced by Michael Crittenden and a grand total of eleven other musicians flesh out the sound. This includes Nashville pedal steel regular Justin Shipper who has also played on records by Shania Twain and Tim McGraw.
I liked Dupas' two previous albums but this one strikes too many sour notes with a plethora of 'woe-is-me' tunes that repeat the same sentiments over and over. Self pity lies just a little too close to the surface even though he grits his teeth and muses pragmatically "I guess the old wounds take the longest to heal", on the album's centrepiece, Both Hands on the Wheel.
After all the moping around feeling sorry for himself, the hard driving rock and social critique of State of the Nation comes as a welcome relief. It is also proof that reflecting upon the sorry plight of the American political scene and thinking about the end of world as we know it can help take your mind off things.
Ed Dupas’ website