Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-03-12

2013-03-12

Joe Fahey: Bushnell's Turtle (Rough Fish, 2011) Singer-songwriter buys a dictionary and lives to make a joke about it ("I Could Not Steal Her Heart [So I Stole Her Car]," "Delta Pine Blues") **

Mary Flower: Misery Loves Company (Yellow Dog, 2011) Finger-picking her blues and rags, she doesn't sound all that miserable--she sounds proud and calm, almost like John Hurt himself ("Death Letter Blues," "Jitters") **

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: Here We Rest (Lightning Rod, 2011) This guy's got talent--some band with their shit together should show him the ropes ("Codeine," "Stopping By") **

Chris Knight: Little Victories (Drifters Church, 2012) "Bring it on get it done don't run s.o.b." explains why white guys don't like Obamacare, and sometimes wish they could ("You Can't Trust No One," "Little Victories") ***

Chelle Rose: Ghost of Browder Holler (Lil' Damsel, 2012) "Appalachian wildflower" cracks wise as craftily as she speaks her heart--more craftily, in fact ("Alimony," "Rattlesnake in the Road") *

Elliott Sharp' Terraplane: Sky Road Songs (Yellowbird, 2012) Attn. Gary Clark Jr.--21st-century blues eclecticism done right, although admittedly an arena-rock anthem would be a nice addition ("Banking Blues," "Endless Path," "Down on the Block") **

Shovels & Rope: O' Be Joyful (Dualtone, 2012) Cary Ann Hearst and helpmate/partner penetrate the South's musical mythos ("Birmingham," "Kemba's Got the Cabbage Moth Blues") *

Todd Snider: Time as We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker (30 Tigers/Aimless, 2012) The Godfather's material sounds loopier every time I play this thing--that is, more like the son's, which is a credit to them both ("Continuing Saga of the Classic Bummer or Is This My One Way Bus Ticket to Cleveland," "Pissin' in the Wind") **

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