"As a connoisseur of music, I am amazed that the talent of Dave Alvin has escaped my notice for all these years. Admittedly, I don't listen to much radio but I am always exploring new musical terrain. When my friend Felice Kay recommended a couple Dave Alvin CDs I might like, Blue Blvd. was one of those. What an album it is! I get a kick out of Alvin's cynical and jaded view of love on such tunes as Gospel Night, Plastic Rose, Brand New Heart and Wanda and Duane. He really rocks on Guilty Man and Rich Man's Town and his country sensibilities shine through on Plastic Rose. He is at once funny AND he is biting. The whole CD is excellent but the piece de resistance is the blood-chilling Andersonville, a Civil War tale that evokes the best work of Ray Wylie Hubbard. I could listen to that time and again. I recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys intelligent lyrics backed by musical genius. You won't be disappointed in this all out winner. It will remain high in my CD rotation for years to come."
American Music, American Stories
James Carragher | New York | 07/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are few surprises in Dave Alvin's music, either solo or as Blaster master. It's hard-working, tuneful roots rock, with instruments seldom more complicated than guitars -- electric, acoustic, and steel--, bass, and drums, a little keyboard here and there, the occasional bluesy riff. But more consistently than almost anyone else I know Alvin delivers diamond-sharp story slices of American life, people and places. If there is nothing here that ties those themes together as perfectly as Fourth of July, Blue Blvd has its full share of wonderful tales, including the sad end of Bill Haley (Haley's Comet), a tribute to Del Shannon and his terminal loneliness (title cut), a couple reconnecting to the Five Blind Boys of Alabama (Gospel Night), a couple disconnecting in an apartment hard by a California freeway (Wanda and Duane), a couple with misgivings over the abortion they are about to schedule (Plastic Rose), and the tenacity of optimism, illusion and memory against bleak Southern California reality (Dry River). On the CD, only Andersonville, about a Union soldier starving in the notorious Confederate POW camp, but still -- apparently -- strong enough to sing, misses the mark. Even so, 10 cuts out of 11 is a solid A by any standard. Get this."
The King Of American Music
Dylan Sexton | Los Alamos, New Mexico | 03/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blue Boulevard is about as close to the spirit of Tom Joad as most of us are ever going to get. In other words, Dave Alvin captures all of the essential elements that go into making up the authentic American character. Listening to tracks like "Haley's Comet" or "Dry River" is akin to reading a great American novel. Bottom line: buy it."
Alvin masters songwriting and emotion
Janet F. Pomeroy | Bay Area, CA USA | 09/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As a huge Dave Alvin fan, I can say that I like hearing the range of all his work, but this album is more of a foundation for the best he's built on - "King of California", "Blackjack Dave" and "Public Domain". I recommend his other stuff, as I think his voice is richer, deeper, provocative - but those who know this guy will go down as a curator and creator of Americana music may like the ride."
An American Classic..
J. Holcombe | 10/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you pigeonhole him as Roots, Rock and Roll, Folk, or Blues, Dave Alvin is a great songwriter, singer and performer. This is a great album, but I am moved to write this review by the gentleman who gave this album an "A" but said "Andersonville" misses the mark.
In my opinon, Andersonville is Dave Alvin's single greatest song, and more than that, I believe it is a timeless classic on a par with some of the songs Alvin covers on "Public Domain". A poignant, dark, but relevant tale of a Union soldier surviving by pulling worms out of the mud in the charnel house of Andersonville prison camp during the Civil War. The song ends with a vision of a wife he will never marry standing by a hearth in a home he will never live in, whom he hopes will lay flowers on his grave after he is dead.
I have been moved to tears more than once by this song. What a wonderful album."