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DAN STUART (Buy CDs by this artist)
Can o' Worms (Monkey Hill) 1995

As long as Green on Red kept going, there was no real reason for vocalist/songwriter Dan Stuart (unlike guitarist Chuck Prophet) to pursue a solo career. But after six records as a fully operative band and four more (plus a live LP and a best-of) with various auxiliary members, Green on Red finally fizzled out. Stuart logged a couple of depressing, dope-sodden years in Spain then reemerged, drug free and many pounds lighter, with Can o' Worms. Using producer/bassist J.D. Foster, guitarist extraordinaire Jon Dee Graham and ex-Poi Dog Pondering drummer Darren Hess as his backing band, Stuart runs through an eleven-song set of desert blues-pop that's both memorable and moodily transgressive. The stirring "La Pasionara" is genuine flamenco soul (complete with guitarrĒn and gypsy violin); "Who Needs More" is an ironic, roughly endearing bit of love talk, and "Waterfall" shines and shimmers along a three-guitar tremolo. The record doesn't exactly reinvent the edgy roots-rock wheel, but it's several notches better than Green on Red's final efforts. The time off and the ugly dose of real life definitely did Stuart's art some restorative good.

[Jason Cohen]