Marc Miner “Last Heroes” (LP) 

Bob Dylan wrote in his Blonde on Blonde track “Absolutely Sweet Marie” that “…to live outside the law, you must be honest” and I think Marc Miner agrees with that sentiment. He populates his new album Last Heroes with assorted renegades, outcasts, criminals, and the heartbroken. It picks up where his 2020 debut Smile When You’re Wasted left off and expands on the former’s thematic range while never losing sight of Miner’s core artistic values. He embraces Americana music, particularly blues and country, as naturally as breathing rather than straining to achieve effects. It makes each of the album’s eleven songs an unequivocal winner.


“Sweet Revenge” begins the album in a big way. It’s a tale of two people, a man and a woman, and the consequences of their bloody pairing. Miner’s prior work has vital storytelling attributes, but he’s developed those skills even more since 2020 and Miner treats us to a jarring, yet completely coherent tale rife with vengeance at any price. The reverb-spiked electric guitar gives the song an added vocal quality and a smattering of echo applied to Miner’s voice enhances the track’s atmospherics.

He toughens the presentation with the second track “Girl Gone Bad”. The bluesy riffing that opens the cut expands into a stomping chorus where Miner unleashes his best rock voice. He’s wide-open, embodying all of the throwing caution to the wind craven lust built into the song’s lyrics. “Nicki & Bob” pulls back on the reins. He foregoes the bluesy firepower of the preceding song in favor of gritty yet comparatively nuanced country rock. It’s the best example of his storytelling prowess thus far on the album and Miner brings the song’s central characters to life in artful fashion.

He’s working even more so in a country vein with the fifth song “Hero of Laredo”. Miner ladens the song with numerous concrete details that help give listeners not just a keen sense of place but delineate character in a way only a handful of modern songwriters are capable of achieving. Dollops of pedal steel scattered throughout the track deepen its tragic mood without ever overshadowing other elements of the performance. There’s a welcome twist in the album’s instrumentation that comes with “Warrior Princess” absent from the other songs. He continues planting his flag in the classic country music camp, but his idiosyncratic subject matter and skillful use of language separate him from the pack.


“Bible & Rifle”, the album’s latest single, will light listeners up thanks to its potent guitar playing and a passionate Miner vocal. He embraces his anger with this song, but it never steamrolls listeners; it’s enough that we get peeks at that emotion. It peppers the music with a distinctly different flavor. Its pace may strike some as a little too plodding, but others will relish its muscular nature. There’s enough on Last Heroes to please any hardened country or blues music fan and even rock music lovers will get off on Marc Miner’s songwriting. Last Heroes gives us a lot to think about and consider as well. This album isn’t perfect, but it’s a success by any measure.

Mark Druery


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