Adam Duritz appears to have been on a non‐songwriting kick for about a decade but a live album from Counting Crows shouldn’t be judged as part of any creative slump.
Counting Crows: Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow
Not the sound of the bottom of a barrel being scraped.
Way back in ’98, with Across A Wire: Live In New York City, it was clear that their songs become different beasts on stage – unpredictable and full of melodic twists – as though their frontman, diagnosed with dissociative disorder in 2008, was operating in a world of his own and trying to keep himself amused.
Echoes Of The Outlaw Roadshow was compiled from twelve months of recent US gigs. Of their own tracks, Carriage, from 2002’s Hard Candy, is a new live classic, a spurt of neat brass and reflective love poetry with a lackadaisical pace that suits them in their 21st year.
The Grateful Dead’s Friend Of The Devil is a gorgeous and fitting cover for a band who’ve always tried to edge towards the hipper end of country, while Elbow’s Lippy Kids (inserted into the middle of their own Rain King) doesn’t quite translate, though it raises some interesting parallels between Duritz and Garvey as lyricists.