Ike Reilly, indie rock raconteur and singer-songwriter,"Hard Luck Stories" - a more groove-oriented and melodic album than previous recordings - is a combination of corroded R & B, furious punk-blues, lounge-pop and classic rock, all laced with giant choruses. As per usual, Ike razor-sharp insight and wit are woven throughout with the lyrical dexterity and aplomb that have become the hallmarks (and trademarks) of Reilly's critically-lauded records. The ten songs on "Hard Luck Stories" were recorded in Chicago and produced by Reilly and Ed Tinley.
Plenty of musical friends joined Reilly in the studio on "Hard Luck Stories": Shooter Jennings duets with Reilly on "The War On The Terror And The Drugs;" Johnny Hickman (Cracker) drives the rhythm of the infectious "Girls in The Backroom" and plays electric guitar on "The Ballad of Jack and Haley," while the unmistakable voice of David Lowery (Cracker) helps carry the chorus on the latter tune; the Libertyville (Ike's Illinois hometown) High School Choir sings the chorus on the "Summertime Blues"-inspired "Good Work;" blues legend Barrel House Chuck rips on the Farfisa and the Wurlitzer; Pie Eyed Pete Cimbalo takes on bass duties; and Assassination bassist Tommy O'Donnell makes his debut for Reilly on guitar.
It is the stories themselves that make this Reilly's most accessible recording to date. The tales, while unique to Reilly in the telling, paint a darkly humorous yet accurate picture of the universal compromise and struggle felt by many folks in America right now - people like the frazzled high school kid who's competing for summer jobs and girls with his ex-coach, the compromising single father who loses custody of his little girl as he goes down for growing weed in their home, the young woman doing the best she can for her war veteran brother as he inadvertently terrorizes their community, and the indie rocker trying to sing a song that finally makes a little money