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Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein

Twistable Turnable Man - tribute to Shel Silverstein CD: Twistable Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to Shel Silverstein
Record Label: Eagles Records
by Troy Johnson
July 2010

He was an artist with no boundaries as to the audience he could reach. “Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute To The Songs Of Shel Silverstein is a folk album with an eclectic group of musicians singing songs featuring lyrics from Silverstein’s poems. In the 90’s, the poet became an icon in Madison, WI writing rhymes and prose, drawing fantastical illustrations, and composing folk lyrics that achieved great commercial success.  Sugar Hill Records released the album on June 8th, 2010 after three years in the making. The tracks on “Twistable Turnable Man” were recorded at multiple studios around the United States and produced by both Bobby Bare Sr. and Jr.The album has a lineup of musicians so talented that if you don’t already have their solo albums, you’ll want to purchase them along with the Silverstein tribute. On Twistable Turnable man, John Prine sings a song called ‘This Guitar is for Sale’ in the classic silly song voice that made tunes such as “Illegal Smile” such big hits. There are songs from successful artists as diverse as Kris Kristofferson, My Morning Jacket, Dr Dog, and The Boxmasters.

Although Sugar Hill Records has no plan of releasing the tribute on vinyl, it’s a good CD to put on your personal music player. It’s an album that you can laugh out loud with or think soft deep thoughts to behind your headphones while passersby marvel about what you’re listening to. With silly Silverstein lyrics in songs like ‘A Boy Named Sue’ covered by Todd Snider and more serious songs like “‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ by Lucinda Williams you can choose a song for any mood of the day. The only song on the album not penned by Silverstein is Andrew Bird’s “The Twistable, Turnable Man Returns” but his affection for Shel’s style is obvious and his voice is eerily similar to Jack Johnson’s. 

The biggest thing Twistable Turnable Man will inspire you to do, though, is to seek out more of Silverstein’s poetic and artistic work. You can find Silberstein’s work in many different forms all over media stores in the country. Though Silverstein spent a lot of time working in Madison, WI his work was known all over the world. Silverstein passed away in May of 1999 and a music album turned out to be a wonderful way to pay homage to this influential artist. You can find the official press release at

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