These days, we tend to keep satire distinct from homage. We need that post-modern wink that lets us in on the joke but absolves the artist of emotional involvement. As such, the decision by Kingston, Ontario, band Luther Wright & the Wrongs to remake Pink Floyd’s The Wall as a country-fried concept album, declaring neither admiration nor contempt for Roger Waters’ opus, is guaranteed to piss off as many people as it delights.
“If you want to find out what’s behind these cold eyes/You’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.” Hank Williams couldn’t have said it any better, and hearing Wright sing “In The Flesh?” against a crisp bed of banjo, steel and fiddle opens up a whole new perspective on the work. Best of all is the waltz-time remake of “Mother”, with Wright’s former Weeping Tile cohort Sarah Harmer responding to the catalogue of matricidal venom with a coolly crooned dressing-down that’s less Tammy Wynette and more Norman Bates’ old lady. “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2″ is done up Red Sovine-style, to hilarious effect.
I’ll confess that I’ve found the original album’s poor-rock-star whine and latent misogyny tough to take. But by embellishing the deep blue thread of sadness that runs from traditional music to the most honest contemporary music, Wright and company have given me a new appreciation for what had become an overly familiar work.
A second volume of Rebuild The Wall is planned. No word yet on a bluegrass version of Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans.