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Joseph Huber: The Suffering Stage

Jul. 3, 2017
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The sorrow most associated with country and bluegrass is more often derived from romantic heartbreak and sentimentality than the sadness Joseph Huber proffers on The Suffering Stage. The third solo album from the leader of the late Milwaukee renegade bluegrass ensemble The .357 String Band trades in deeper existential discomfort and despair.

As Huber stares down darkness, he and his band conjure rootsy country magic musically, ready for the ears of his former act’s fans as it would be for those appreciative of the more ruminative work of Blackberry Smoke and Gov’t Mule. Though Huber sounds to be coming from a primarily Buddhist lyrical perspective, he’s respectful of the Christianity that underlies much of the music that informs his own. That philosophical tension, Huber’s acknowledgement of personal and political grief and his plainspoken singing, rich in character and wizened beyond his years, makes Suffering pleasurable if purposefully sad listening. 

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