Release Date: Sep 30, 2008
Record label: Epic/Red
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
The Rage Against the Machine guitarist’s remarkable transformation from purveyor of weapons-grade funk-metal riffs into introspective protest folkie yields even more impressive fruit on his second solo effort The Fabled City. Tom Morello?s touchstones here are as obvious as they were on his 2007 debut: Guthrie for the lyrics celebrating the working-class salt of the earth, Cash for the rich baritone delivery, Ghost of Tom Joad-era Springsteen for the slow-burning acoustic arrangements. This time, though, Morello has sharpened his songwriting — he’s inspired by those giants, rather than just imitating them.
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello returns to the singer/songwriter alter ego he calls the Nightwatchman for 2008's The Fabled City. It needs to be said from the jump that this album stands in radical contrast to the skeletal One Man Revolution issued in 2007. Morello and producer Brendan O'Brien (who has been working with Bruce Springsteen since The Rising) decided on something more ornate than just guitar and voice, because these songs warrant it.
Review Summary: Morello's second outing as a protest singer is marred by dreadful lyrics and inconsistent songwriting. While the bulk of Tom Morello’s post-Rage Against The Machine political activism has taken place away from the microphone, with Axis Of Justice (an grass-roots alliance formed with System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian) and various other left-wing protest groups, he has in recent years cultivated a folk singer alter-ego under the alias The Nightwatchman. Perturbed by the United States’ endless fascination with electing conservatives, Morello took his creation out on the road in the run-up to the 2004 election, and when Audioslave finally stuttered to a halt in 2007 he took the persona a stage further and issued his debut solo album, One Man Revolution.