Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Low Cut Connie: Private Lives [Contender, 2020]
With Ian Stewart and Nicky Hopkins long passed, Roy Bittan and Benmont Tench outclassed, his hero Jerry Lee in seclusion, and his fan Elton in limbo, Low Cut Connie frontman Adam Weiner stands as the most fluent as well as the most rocking piano man in the music. Plus he's a commanding singer and a wisecracking showman known to tickle the ivories with his feet. So people brought their friends to see his practiced, unpredictable, welcoming act, the friends brought their friends, and Low Cut Connie became a club-circuit powerhouse, with records a mere merch stream economically. But Weiner has always been too brainy, empathetic, and artistically ambitious to leave it there, and now he not only wants to make good records, he wants to make good records that add political context to the party vibe his shows will return to yet again. So it's no surprise that this meaty, purposeful, 17-song hour is so far from the waggish 2011 debut job epitomized by the dating advisory "Shit, Shower and Shave": evolved, virtuosic garage-rock with an evangelical edge--if you'll pardon an esoteric historical analogy, more Iron City Houserockers than Rubber City Rebels. Too often Weiner overdoes the vocals, and a bare half of the songs are sure shots. But from the nanny who moonlights weed sales on the side to an Atlantic City song that begins "Tough shit for the little guy living like a chump with his back to the wall" to a loving closer called "Stay as Long as You Like," enough of them most definitely are. A-