See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Rebuild the Wall

Posted By on Wed, Aug 7, 2002 at 12:00 AM

When I was in college, a group of friends and I instituted Pink Floyd Day. The idea was, we’d block out a single 14- or 15-hour span during which we’d play every single Floyd album, in the order of their release. Throughout the day we’d enhance the experience with the assistance of whatever vegetative smokables we could put our hands on.

This is the sort of notion, like clove cigarettes and open-mike poetry, toward which the young brain addled by 8 a.m. philosophy classes tends to gravitate. And, of course, you get simply a passel of brilliant ideas during an experience like that; I recall a stretch of time where we attempted to make food-related puns on all the song titles. (We were very, very hungry.)

Such, I am convinced, was the genesis of Rebuild the Wall, a full-album bluegrass arrangement of the classic Pink Floyd album that succeeds far better than it looks on paper.

It doesn’t hurt that the Ontario-based Luther Wright and his compatriots play good bluegrass, of course; a project like this stands or falls largely on the skills of its interpreters. But after all, The Wall dealt in excess, booze, sexual infidelity, madness, isolation and mortality — all the touchstones of classic country music. And when Wright and Co. are able to pull those threads from the original prog-rock tapestry and rearrange them into accomplished bluegrass settings, Rebuild the Wall works like all hell.

Particularly successful are the “isolation” songs, such as “Comfortably Numb,” “Nobody Home” (which manages to sound, inexplicably, like a lost Jimmie Rodgers side) and “One of My Turns.” Less successful, somewhat predictably, is the straightforward performance of the album’s warhorse, “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2,” which the band seems unwilling to fiddle with. (Sorry.)

There’s an unavoidable whiff of novelty about the album, which may or may not dissipate as you listen; and, of course, the purists will sneer. But as a whispered harmonica states the refrain from “Outside the Wall” and slides into “In the Flesh?” you’ll have a pretty reliable sense of whether this undeniably intriguing project is for you. Now pass the Cheez Doodles. Hey, have you ever really looked at your hands?

E-mail Eric Waggoner at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Eric Waggoner

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit