FRED EAGLESMITH, a Canadian country singer who is equally witty and pithy, is an Ithaca favorite. This is particularly lovely because he spends most of his sets giving it a hard time. Hummus and hippies are frequent subjects for Eaglesmith, who returns Tuesday, June 14 for a show at Castaways.
He’s been releasing solid albums for more than 30 years, but it hasn’t seemed to go to his head; his 18th album, “Cha Cha Cha,” is as good as his first. The record percolates with the primal beats, grooves and vibe of rock’n’roll to fire a collection of sharp and concise songs about lovers who are faithless, fickle, feckless, lonesome, lost, loyal and even fleeting shadows and ghosts.
With such simmering, rhythmically-driven tracks laced with driving electric guitar and keyboards as the blues with a Latin beat of “Careless,” the ominously crackling “Tricks,” the garage-band bounce and kick of “I Would” and the slinky and intoxicating “Dynamite and Whiskey,” the disc is yet another organic progression and variation from a talent whose vibrant recordings and stirring live shows have earned him comparisons to a virtual honor roll of musical icons. Yet, as always, it’s just Eaglesmith doing what comes naturally and burnishing his own vital brand of music with further character and dimensions.
The album, which was released late last year, has been receiving critical acclaim from such outlets as the Toronto Sun (“Grab a partner and hit the floor.”) to the Vancouver Sun (“The new album is overflowing with love songs in which his gruff voice contrasts with a crisp backing chorus.”) to the Dallas Morning News (“The CD is wonderful.”) to the Philadelphia Inquirer (“masterwork”).
And thankfully he’s still singing about snow plow drivers, how ladies with big hair are closer to heaven, and how he wants to buy your truck. His live shows are famously funny. He often admits that he’s embarrassed to be from Canada…because of Celine Dion.
Doors at 8:00 p.m., show at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.