Americana that covers all the bases

Shame about the name and even the title music like this doesn’t need it. Look beneath the surface and you find a finger-picked, semi-acoustic melee where rockabilly meets country and blues meets folk, all as affectionately dealt with as by the Alvin brothers. Real Americana, even if Mr Rick (Rick Zolkower), who grew up in 50s/60s Detroit listening to real American music, has long long decamped to Toronto (where he’s also a successful photographer).

The songs here are mostly traditional and even if they’re not they’re as close as dammit – standards such as Liquor Store Blues by bluesman Sleepy John Estes and 40s Texan country singer Jerry Irby’s classic Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin.

Zolkower (sorry Mr Rick) sings grittily and plays mean guitar, both acoustic and electric, backed by a sharp ensemble that includes plenty of squealing fiddle, slap-happy bass and snappy percussion. Of the God side, I Know I’ve Been Changed, with snarling lead, clarinet and gospel choir, comes out blessed while on the other Drivin’ Nails, a truckin’ triumph, and It’s The Bottle Talking, smoochy Western swingbilly (a la James Intveld) both deserve a tip of the glass.

Nick Dalton

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