Album Review of David Serby: Poor Man’s Poem

Album Reviews, Artists — By on July 13, 2011 1:16 pm

David Serby and his Dirt Poor Folklore band are set to release their third album, Poor Man’s Poem, on August 16, 2011. The album is a departure from the honky tonk style of the previous two albums. The new album could be described as old time country, hillbilly, or American political folk music. Serby has created an album that, through the veil of its nostalgic sound and setting, weaves yarns that connect listeners to economic, social, and political concerns of today. He has, through his music and lyrics, made connections between the past and present and pointed out that hard times are hard no matter what point in history they may fall within. The songs on this album conjure up images of corrupt old west lawmen, a Native American lamenting the loss of a way of life, and soldiers maimed in battle that fall into the cycle of drug addiction. The album is an instant classic that artistically could hold its own in comparison to Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, the Carter Family, or any of the now nameless and thankless artists from the hillbilly music era that laid the foundations of modern country music.

The album’s title track, “Poor Man’s Poem,” is the first song on the album. The song’s sound instantly transports listeners back in time to the era of the Great Depression with its imagery of clap board shanties, company life, and the disparity between rich and poor. The connections to present day are easily recognizable as we are living through the greatest economic disaster since the previously mentioned depression. “Lay Down My Colt” is a sad song that tells the story of a boy that is haunted by the hanging of his father. The boy grows into adulthood and through vigilante justice avenges the death of his father. The lyrics point out the beliefs of the boy turned man when Serby sings, “So, sir, put down that bible ‘cause prayers won’t do no good/ Your god ain’t got no use for this lost soul.” In the end the man meets the same fate as his father when he is executed at the end of a hangman’s rope. The track “I Just Stole Back What Was Mine” tells the story of crooked bankers being robbed by a gold miner who justifies his actions by saying, “I never took no poor man’s purse/ nor robbed the mail line/ Wells Fargo stole my gold from me/ I just stole back what was mine.” Many American’s crippled by debt or forced into bankruptcy by unscrupulous lenders and their mortgage scams, more than likely, can’t help but feel this song echoes their own situation and thoughts. Especially, since these lenders whom helped bring our country’s economy to its knees were bailed out by the tax dollars of the same hardworking Americans the banks had exploited.

David Serby: Poor Man’s Poem is, without question, a masterpiece of musical and lyrical artistry. The album is well produced, the arrangements are tight and fit the albums concept perfectly, and the lyrics are timeless and poetic. Listeners will be stricken with the honesty and genius of David Serby and his work on this album. Fans of old time country, bluegrass, hillbilly, folk, or americana music do not hesitate to add this album to your collection. The album will debut at the Stagecoach Music Festival, in Indio, California, on August 9, 2011. For more information on David Serby and his latest album visit or you can also find him at

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