Tolan McNeil: There Will Always Be a Salesman (Red Cat)

Tolan McNeil

There Will Always Be a Salesman (Red Cat)

2Tolan McNeil is perhaps best known in these parts as one of Carolyn Mark's faithful sidemen. On There Will Always Be a Salesman, the guitarist steps out on his own, and the results are occasionally stunning. Wasting no time getting to the good stuff, McNeil launches the disc with "One Will Be Late", a loping shot of off-kilter, golden Americana that practically dares you not to sing along. Almost as memorable, "Oakland Shuffle" begins with a turn-of-the-century, Mississippi Delta field holler and then lights out for bluegrass heaven.

Just when you think you've got a shoe-in for local roots record of the year, McNeil decides to fuck with the program. After starting out like Townes Van Zandt in one of his more playful moments, "Seat Sale" is jarringly interrupted by a searing '70s-style guitar wank. Later, even Ween worshippers will be weirded out by the heavily manipulated "Mom Mom Mom", where McNeil begs his mother "Can we have a box of Honeycomb for dinner?" Hopefully the answer was no, because this boy should lay off the refined sugar; based on the remainder of There Will Always Be a Salesman, it's messing with his brain.