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We're All in This Together
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  • Though barely four years old, the Todd Snider-led jam band supergroup Hard Working Americans have maintained a prolific output, especially for a project that could have easily rested as a pleasant one-off. True to their name, the roots rock sextet -- which also features members of Widespread Panic, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Great American Taxi -- keep on rolling with their fourth release, We're All in This Together, a spirited live set captured during their tour for 2016's studio album Rest in Chaos. That Together is the band's second concert album is a pretty clear indication of where their hearts and strengths lie, though with such a brief history, it also reveals some of the limitations of their repertoire. The menu of cover songs that populated both their 2014 live release, The First Waltz, and the self-titled studio debut that followed a year later continues to occupy real estate in their canon with four of those tunes -- "I Don't Have a Gun," "Stomp and Holler," "Another Train," and "Run a Mile" -- making their third appearance on an HWA album. In the jam band tradition, though, the versions do vary wildly from show to show, and their appearances here resemble appropriately freshened takes. Overall, HWA do a nice job of continuing to expand on their hippie road show self-mythology, adding a pair of new Snider-penned songs in the rambling origin story title cut -- presented lyrically in the album's liner notes as "Invocation #2" -- and the spry shuffling "Is This Thing On?" With such a band of monster players at his side, Snider seems to be settling into his role of frontman/hooligan preacher quite well. Closing out the set is a fairly straightforward Southern rock rendition of Chuck Berry's early rock chestnut "School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)." A solid document of a rugged and yes, hard-working American band, We're All in This Together reliably delivers the goods without a lot of surprises. ~ Timothy Monger
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