Album review: Hard Working Americans, ‘Rest in Chaos’

These Hard Working Americans don’t play the anthemic, blue-collar style the name might imply; instead, they cultivate a likably twisted strain of cosmic-hippie, gonzo-outlaw music,
anchored in rock but with various biting Americana flavors. The sextet features colorful singer Todd Snider and two Widespread Panic members, bassist Dave Schools and drummer Duane Trucks. After an all-covers debut, this second album is a major step forward. Adopting a swamp-drawling, Southern-blues tone somewhere among Dr. John, J.J. Cale, and Billy Gibbons, Snider revels in one existential crisis after another: fighting with a landlord in the snarky “Half Ass Moses”; a mother finding her son’s marijuana stash in “Dope Is Dope”; meeting a future girlfriend in a substance-abuse clinic in “It Runs Together.” We haven’t heard a loose, picaresque
album like this in a while; reminiscing about
jamming to the Beatles and Moody Blues in “Acid,” Snider declares “a lot of the music spoke to you back then.” It speaks here, too.STEVE MORSE

Essential “Acid”

Hard Working Americans perform at Paradise Rock Club May 18.