Star City

Inside the Other Days – 2001 (Star City Recordings)

Reviewed by Sophie Best

CDs by Star City

The five east-coast musicians who make up Star City have impressive resumes, which include bands such as the Hangdogs, the World Famous Blue Jays, Walter Salas-Humara's band and the Rolling Hayseeds. The talented lineup of players is testimony to the vision of Star City's leader, Jason Lewis. Lewis is possessed of a bellowing and emotive voice, which conveys a seen-it-all wisdom beyond his years, and his rock-informed country songs articulate the living of those years with compelling realism.

Liner-note memories of Lewis' grandfather, and his life in West Virginia, frame an album which is steeped in a poignant sense of self and the trappings of big-city life, and a vivid, at times fearful, sense of time's passing. Star City's ballads are reminiscent of those of Steve Earle in terms of their heart-in-mouth sadness, and sometimes existential despair: "You can't do anything for me... this is all I'm gonna be", Lewis declares sorrowfully on "You And Me". Yet the sturdy hooks of the album's country-rock anthems - Town and Country and Still Be Wild are the most buoyant of these - express the other, optimistic side of a life intensely lived and expressed. A moving, and ultimately victorious album.