4th of July by Dave Alvin is the perfect song to kick off the holiday weekend. Written and performed by an Americana music icon Dave Alvin, it is a lyrical music poem of longing and unrequited love set to the background of our national holiday.
Since I first heard it covered by Robert Earl Keen on his outstanding 1997 release Picnic, 4th of July has held a permanent spot on my short list of favorite contemporary songs. It also opened up my ears to the impressive musical catalogue of Dave Alvin. My dive into Alvin’s music began when I bought his 1994 release King of California. It is a great album.
Alvin also ranks high on my list of great modern singer songwriters who are not getting the recognition they deserve. With a career that started 30 years ago as a founding member of the Blasters and X, Alvin has gone on to develop a sound that might be best described as Alt-California Country. Whatever you call it, the music is based on great songwriting and stylish guitar playing. Rolling Stone Magazine has called Alvin "an under recognized guitar hero" and I agree. Watch him rip it up at the end of the video above.
The Best of the Hightone Years released in 2008 includes several hits from King of California as well as California Snow and Abilene, which are two of his great songs. It would be a great place to start your Alvin collection.
Add some Alvin to your playlist and have a great 4th.