Chuck Ragan: “Nomad By Fate”
At first glance, punk and folk music don’t seem to have much in common. But both genres passionately celebrate the agony and ecstasy of a life lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Chuck Ragan, the former frontman for Florida punk group Hot Water Music, is proof that there’s a folk-singing troubadour in the heart of every punk rocker.
After an indefinite hiatus in 2005 (so Ragan could spend more time with family), Hot Water Music finally called it quits a year later. Soon after, Ragan struck out on his own. 2007 saw the release of his solo debut, the live Los Feliz, and his first studio record Feast or Famine. Armed with an acoustic guitar, harmonica and a bevy of folk instruments, Ragan’s solo work is sonically miles away from Hot Water Music. But the stripped-down acoustic arrangements give Ragan’s songwriting talents and his warm, gravelly voice a chance to shine. This September, Ragan released his latest, Covering Ground. Today’s song of the day “Nomad by Fate” is one of the standouts.
You can feel every rabid strum of Ragan’s guitar on “Nomad by Fate.” A wistful fiddle narrates along with Ragan as he spins a tale of a man that’s seen too many nights on the road. When he sings in his sandpapery bark, “Oh I gave my hands to take you home/but I had no home to give you,” it’s easy to imagine Ragan as a dusty rambler trying to get to the next town, one freight car at a time.
You can see Chuck Ragan tonight at Red 7.