Thursday, December 29, 2011

Luke Roberts

Blurt is still running reviews this week...and I've got one up today.

Luke Roberts
Big Bells and Dime Songs
(Thrill Jockey)

"One time...I spit and hit a dime," Luke Roberts' growls over a spare, rough-hewn scrim of picking. His "Dime Song" sounds as if it were recorded as if in the back room of a deserted bar in the bleary beginnings of a morning after. His voice breaks and stretches over the notes, mournful and exhausted and beaten. It's an old-time sound, the kind of thing that ought to have been recorded, originally, on wax cylinders. It speaks of hard times and discouragement and endless persistence with few rewards, an artifact, perhaps, from the Great Depression. Yet Roberts is 20-something, scraping by in post-credit crunch America rather than the 1930s. He laid the track down a year or two ago, with Harvey Milk's Kyle Spence sitting at the boards of his Athens, Georgia recording studio. His spiritual contemporaries may be Karen Dalton and Woody Guthrie, but he is about the same age as Lady Gaga. Strange world, isn't it?


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