Michael Weston King is best known for his work with his wife Lou Dalgleish in their band My Darling Clementine. Stepping outside of their familiar sound of old fashioned country / honky-tonk duets, 'The Struggle' finds King in a more stripped back setting featuring inspiring songs that show empathy with the listener and the difficult situations they often undergo.
Distancing himself from the music of My Darling Clementine with ‘The Struggle’ allows King to open up and as a songwriter and explore subjects that wouldn’t normally sit within the music he makes with band. The opening song, ‘Weight of The World’ doesn’t hold back as it tackles the disillusionment of the blue collar workers who voted for and supported the Trump administration following the events leading up to Trump’s photo opportunity, bible in hand at St. John’s Church. The melody is subtle and laid back as it underpins King’s weary vocal delivery.
The gentle laid-back country feel of ‘Sugar’ coats a song that acts as a clever metaphor for addiction. Inspired by personal experience with an old neighbour, ‘Another Dying Day’ tackles the thorny subject of depression from the male point of view. Dealing with the passing of his Mother in Law, ‘Valerie’s Coming Home’ is a touching tribute her memory and the last days the family got to spend with her in her residential home.
‘Me & Frank’ is wonderful tale of friendship, which is part biographic and part fiction. A compelling listen that reminds the listener very much of ‘Nebraska’ era Springsteen. ‘The Final reel’ is a light-hearted English folk-based tribute to the late Jackie Leven, a friend and mentor to King.
With hints of the music of Rodney Crowell, Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash, over all there’s a very 70’s country radio feel to the sound of ‘The Struggle’, and much like those artists, King has not only crafted beautiful music, but adorned it with well written lyrics that are full of compassion, protest and social and political commentary.
A beautiful album that’s highly recommend.