Anyone who's come to know Fred Eaglesmith
as one of the most brilliant folk-rock songwriters of the '90s can't help but be disappointed by 50 Odd Dollars
' middle-of-the-road country-rock crunch. Then again, it depends on what you like to hear. Fans of his trailer-trash tales of fast trains and drunken nights will probably enjoy this album's loud guitars and pounding beat, whereas folks who live for his wistful early work will be disappointed in its lack of clemency. The lone ballad flits by so unremarkably that it feels like a weak link, which is sad because Eaglesmith
's sentimental poetry, like Dylan's, has always been a strong anchor for his records and the perfect foil for his folky comedy. Without it, songs like "Mighty Big Car" just sound tired.