Willy Porter

Always adept at crafting fantastical stories, Milwaukeean Willy Porter didn't have to stretch the truth at all on "How to Rob a Bank," the title track from his latest album (on the appropriately named Weasel Records). Although written with Porter's characteristic adept use of language, and subtly invoking the spirit of Woody Guthrie, it's a remarkably straightforward account of the surrealistic shenanigans that created the prevailing economic crisis: "I'll get some decent suits and a bogus business plan/Become well-versed in the etiquette of Wall Street Disney Land." It's a tribute to Porter's songwriting—and a sad commentary on other analysts—that he can cover it all in a four-minute pop song. Plus, he's a great guitarist. The rest of the album is rife with examples of Porter's prowess as a guitarist and songsmith, covering wide stylistic ground, from gospel-brushed country ("Barefoot Reel," featuring Porter's especially soulful vocals) to Little Feat-like rootsy rock ("Psychic Vampire") to folk ("Learning the Language") to Southern-fried funk ("Colored Lights"). The equally diverse subject matter ranges from Impressionist painters to a soldier's harrowing tale, a searing electric epic that's equal parts Skynyrd, Neil Young, and Steve Earle. With the Slowly Dark. 21+. (Photo by Deone Jahnke)
Thu., Feb. 11, 7 p.m., 2010

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