Mean Bean 2016
Singer-songwriter from San Francisco taps into the heart of Americana to rock actual and timeless issues.
While continuing to plough a country field on an album number four, Pete Kronowitt has somehow hardened his approach to performance, if not composition. Most of it is topical – in all meanings of the word – yet there’s an obvious shift in the nostalgic mood of “Follow The Leader” or the hoedown of “Necessary Evils” from the artist’s debut that are revisited here, 13 years down the line, in a new, politics-wise, climate. That’s what, perhaps, necessitated the starting of this record with “Change Is Gonna Come” – not a Sam Cooke classic but an optimistic piece which may be a bit soft for a real kick – and the taking of hope to a boogie limit for “Body, Choice & Mind” where steel guitars dance with a piano.
Such a sweet roll, perfect for “Holding Your Head” or “Tears On The Back Of Her Head” that are adorned with an organ purr, can distract the listener from the irony of “Got Guns?” until its lyrics become straightforward, and “Puppet Master” doesn’t try to hide behind subtle hints either, the cut’s jaunty facade notwithstanding. Of course, merriment can serve the lyrical purpose of the fiddle-kissed “She Gives” much better, yet when juxtaposition of a message and a tune is required, Kronowitt excels in applying this kind of contrast. Make it sharper, and the ghosts of Woody and other Pete will emerge.