Bob Rea’s Ragged Choir album is a bastardization of modern roots music. Each song is overtly dramatic and full of awful lyrics that make it seem like a comedy album. His cartoonish posturing has put Bob Rea into the discount CD bin right next to Milli Vanilli and Poison.
On the first cut, “Stand Up,” Bob sings about a trip to heaven and a “rocket ship to hell.” Every song is full of half cooked lyrics in a genre predominantly made up of bad singing voices that sing great lyrics. His voice is a constant issue, aping Johnny Cash and ending up sounding more like Tom Morello as the Nightwatchman; Rea’s overtly dramatic voice cannot work in tandem with his awful words. The music too is uninventive and dry, playing the dead horses that are roots music motifs and tropes.
If Bob Rea wants to be taken seriously as a roots music artist, he’ll need to change immediately. There is no room for his kind when there are artists out there who carry on the tradition with grace and dignity. As of now Mr. Rea is a fool stumbling in the dark because he thinks he knows where the light is.