20 Miles


For more than a decade, Judah Bauer has polished the work of his
primary band, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, with a considerably
gifted guitar prowess. Having cut his professional teeth forging the
guitar-driven onslaught of the Blues Explosion, he buffered his cachet
in work with such roots stylists and nouveau Delta blues legends as
R.L. Burnside and Othar Turner. Since 1996, the assiduous Judah has
been applying a pared down musical sensibility to his continuing
fascination with the deeply American idioms of blues, R&B, and
rockabilly under the moniker 20 Miles. The recordings of 20 Miles have
featured an ever-changing line-up of crack musicians and non-musicians
alike, supporting the versatile, punching riffs and earnest vocals of
Judah. Judah and 20 Miles now release their finest recording to date -
Life Doesn't Rhyme.

Written over an astonishingly brief period
of three weeks, Life Doesn't Rhyme generates a frisson of excitement
with fully developed and vibrant songcraft: Judah Bauer's best yet
writing. Ranging in style from scorching rockabilly pumpers to
smoldering back-burner blues, the eleven songs on this record revisit
the canon of folkloric American Music between, say, 1920 and 1960. Life
Doesn't Rhyme speaks its tale in accents honed by that music's best
interpreters, while at once being the singular work of 20 Miles. Judah
nestles his tunes here into a warm and smoky emotional landscape:
envision a hot, late August evening on Beale Street. Barbecue, bourbon,
and bravura in the Mississippi Delta's Babylon. Judah's lyrics deal in
the frustrations and hopes of human relations. They are direct,
impassioned, invitingly spare of the all-too-commonplace ironic

Life Doesn't Rhyme features the talents of drummer
Joe Plummer, best known for his work with Black Heart Procession and
The Magic Magicians, bassist Paul Dugan (of The Big Lazy), and Luca on
piano and organ. Of course, Judah provides honors on guitar, and lays
down his usual and very satisfying vocal chops. The album was recorded
in London at Toe Rag Studios with Liam Watson (The White Stripes, The
Kills and Splash 4), and with Ed Deegan at Gizzard Recording. Chris
Shaw (Bob Dylan, The Verve Pipe, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) mixed the
record at Manhattan's Sear Sound.


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