Criminally under-appreciated Canadian singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith has recorded a slew of great, self-penned songs since he started releasing albums and touring relentlessly in the 1980s.
My favorites Eaglesmith numbers include the wonderfully warped love letter "Wilder Than Her," the deftly silly "White Trash," the poignant migrant-workers lament "Carmelita," the stirring cautionary tale "Alcohol & Pills" and new stuff like the sepia-toned memory pain of "Cigarette Machine."
But Eaglesmith's most famous song, another one of my favorites, is "Time to Get a Gun." "Fred-Heads" were loving it for more than a decade before country superstar Miranda Lambert introduced the song to the masses when she recorded it for her platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated 2009 album "Revolution."
As with pretty much all memorable tunes, "Time to Get a Gun" has a catchy melody and sing along chorus. But what makes it a classic is the way the alt-country hero cleverly handles the hot-button subject matter. The song is a deceptively simple emotional heavyweight about a working-class man's need to defend his family; not some NRA anthem, although the organization might just use the song, or at least part of it, if Eaglesmith consented.
In concert, though, attendees often mistake "Time to Get a Gun" as a hipster send-up.
"Sometimes people laugh in the wrong places," Eaglesmith told me for a previous story that ran in the Bradenton Herald.
"I don't care what people think. If they want to tell themselves ('Time to Get a Gun') is ironic so they can stay the rest of show, that's fine. I just put stuff out there. I might have felt that way on that day, but that's not necessarily my philosophy."
Details: 8 p.m. Jan. 4, Aces Live, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton. Tickets: $20 (advance), $25 (door). Information: 941-795-3886 or aceslivemusic.com
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.