Everything Good Is on the Highway
Everything Good is on the Highway is the second solo CD for South Carolina based singer/songwriter Jef Chandler. The album, like it's predecessor, Talking Out the Fire, is an eclectic collection of songs written by Chandler that ranges from rock to country to bluegrass and which showcases the artist's well-crafted lyrics. As with Chandler's debut, Everything Good is on the Highway, recorded over a four-year period during which Chandler was playing shows on the road with many different musicians, features lots of talented individuals from upstate South Carolina, including members of the bands The Work, Flat Front Tire, The Funktion, Baker Maultsby and the Lean Streaks, Deep Fried South, The Lackies, Urban Legends, and Moon. The first four songs on the CD are rock oriented. Empire of Idle Thoughts sounds reminiscent of Tom Petty, while the instrumental Open Door has an Allman Brothers feel. The dueling rock guitars of Matt Morgan and John Atkins on Smashed Penny Earrings are layered over a Bo-Diddlyesque backbeat, which makes for a unique blend of blues, rock, and jam music. Turn is a mournful pop number that ends with a solo by Atkins in the style of Mark Knopler. The fifth and sixth songs on the CD were the last to be recorded and feature vocals by Andrea Christopher-Snipes. These two songs have a distinct Americana flavor. There's A Way Out is a melodically catchy duet which contains some of Chandler's more whimsical lyrics: You got no common sense and you lose my money Still I'm crazy 'bout you and I call you honey You're a devil to me, that's all I expect you to be Please sit over here, I wanna have you next to me The final five songs on the disc are all acoustic. The title track is a raucous bluegrass tune that bounces along like an old van going down the highway; the point-counter-point of Mike Bagwell's dobro and Charles Hedgepath's mandolin stands a reminder of the dueling guitars earlier in the album. The ballad Jordan is a spiritual written from the perspective of the biblical Moses as he watches his people cross over into the Promised Land. Make Up My Mind finds the singer in the frustrated limbo of acceptance or rejection by a lover. The two final songs are light-hearted and hayseed, the final song on the album performed by Chandler solo. The title of the CD is taken from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that goes, 'If we will take the good we find, asking no questions, we shall have heaping measures. The great gifts are not got by analysis. Everything good is on the highway.'