Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys In The Campfire – Wronger
Of all its former members, Tommy Stinson has clearly had the most diverse resume since The Replacements officially imploded (both times). He switched from bass to guitar and fronted Bash & Pop for a few records; Clocked in during the late ‘90s/early ‘00s revolving door line up that was Guns N’ Roses; played on and off alongside his longtime friend Dave Pirner in Soul Asylum; and has guested on tracks by everyone from the Old 97s to Puff Daddy. But he’s clearly at his most comfortable in the driver’s seat of his solo albums. The proof can be heard all over Wronger from Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys In The Campfire – his third and easily best solo effort.
It’s not just that Stinson is a much better musician than when he first started out (he obviously is), but he has also grown into a songwriter on par with Paul Westerberg, his former singer from The Replacements. Wronger is equal parts Americana, pop, folk, Rockabilly and classic country. The album perfectly marries Stinson’s punk rock bona fides with his obvious love for the telecaster twang of the Outlaw Country founders. The album opens on “Here We Go Again,” a deceptively joyful ukelele track punctuated by horns while “That’s It” sounds like a Johnny Cash/The Clash hybrid. The two early standout tracks though are the mellow “Mr. Wrong” and the fantastic “We Ain’t”. There is a comfortableness to these songs that makes for an enjoyable listen from start to finish. The album closes on the beautiful “Dream.”
Stinson is joined on the record by longtime buddy Chip Roberts. “We’ve been really good friends and writing partners pretty much since we met each other,” Stinson says. “We were writing rock tunes to ballads or country or Americana, but we’ve both come from that sort of singer-songwriter thing.”
Their partnership clearly works, as Stinson has just turned in one of the finest records of his post-Replacements career.