The Glorious Decline
(Fontana North/ Universal)
The Glorious Decline portrays a darker, contemplative interior life to Egan, best known for his pedal and lap steel and guitar work in bands like Blue Rodeo and, earlier, Wilco and Freakwater. These are, by turns, sad and melancholic tunes. “Spalding’s Lament,” marks the emotional low point, but it’s a depth you happily go to. “Montreal” echoes Elliott Smith’s sense of displacement, as does “An Airport Bar on Christmas Day,” the grandiose opener a la recent Wilco. While all tunes offer something, “Learn to Love Again” balances Blue Rodeo and Yo La Tengo. This is a delightful surprise, reminding you to never underestimate the sideman.