True Tales of the Human Condition’ showcases the group generating the music, Patrick’s Beard & The Rusty Razors, as a rabble rousing jugband. There is never a
lack of sound coming through, The Rusty Razors sawing a consistent rhythm that travels with determination, pushing and prodding lead vocalist Patrick Davis. ‘True Tales of the Human Condition’ offers ten tracks between the opening “Foreword” and closing “Afterward”, bearing the beard owner name on the credits for all tracks with the exception of PB & RR’s take on the traditional “St. James Infirmary”. In the band’s hands, the song gets a funeral march remake that leads a parade of horns along with banjo beats. The songs on ‘The Tales of the Human Condition” rattle and ramble, finding a home in the camps of road travelers or at a backwoods BBQ. The tales that talk of conditions offer the narrator’s rode hard views on life, letting the paths taken define the experiences. Patrick’s Beard & The Rusty Razors tag their brand of Alt Country Folk with touches of bluegrass and classic country.
Patrick’s Beard and The Rusty Razors have been together since early 2011, and their debut album includes all Patrick Davis originals with the exception of “St. James Infirmary.” They’re working with Brolester Records, an independent record label based out of Des Moines, Iowa that is interested in all genres of music. The band has courage to put out their first album with less than nine months under their belts, and the result does have a few instrumental weaknesses and vocal inconsistencies. At the same time, the acoustic Americana/Alt-Country band from Austin, Tx. shows that they have the energy and exuberance to put on a pretty charged-up, hell-raising, and high-stepping show. Perhaps that’s why they refer to their musical approach as “drunken house party jamming.” While they’re not going to win any Grammy Awards yet, I appreciate the downhome spunk and guts of Lucas Vander Weerdt (mandolin), Dannyl Robinson (bass), Patrick Davis (guitar, bass drum), and Dan Wipf (banjo). Guests include Charlie Formaro (Dobro on 4 songs), Billy Kearney (fiddle on 3 songs), and Erik Brown (trumpet on “St. James Infirmary”).
The album’s title “True Tales of the Human Condition” emphasizes Patrick Davis’ desire to be a storyteller who can relate real instances for his experiences inspired by day-to-day life. Take “Underneath a Willow Branch,” for example, as his recollection of the special place where he first met a lover. With this amount of original material, it would’ve been nice if their liner notes (or a referenced website location) would publish Davis’ lyrics. “The Son Who Went Before” sets to music a poem written by Patrick Davis’ grandfather (presumably for Patrick’s father who died in an auto accident at age 27). Perhaps the most intriguing and heartfelt ballad is “Dove of Stone,” the same story told from Patrick’s perspective. That song appears at track 5 despite the album’s liner notes that mistakenly put it track ten. “Mitchellville” also tells the story of the Iowa prison “where women go to pay their dues.” A goodtime song about having good times is “Gate City,” written when Davis when lived in Burlington, Iowa and would drive to Keokuk to party. You’ve got like this band’s adventurous tastes, even if they still have some work to do to tighten things up in their rowdy, foot-stompin’ originals. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)