Music reviews |  Messenger newspapers

Kevin Bryan gives his judgment on some of this week’s CD releases. Paul Handyside, “Loveless Town” (Malady Music) – This interesting solo offering is the brainchild of folk and roots singer-songwriter Paul Handyside, who first cut his teeth as a performer on the creative mainstay of indie rockers the eighties, hurray! “Loveless Town” is a varied package that captures the far-reaching approach of this multifaceted character to music-making in its most attractive form by combining elements from Americana, folk and pop with excellent effects. Paul’s eclectic songwriting style has historically drawn comparisons to such unlikely bedfellows as Chris Difford, Jeff Buckley and veteran folk legend Martin Carthy, and his fourth solo album provides an eloquent vehicle for Handyside’s formidable sound, with invaluable instrumental support from his perennial cohorts Dave Porthouse on double bass and melodeon and producer Rob Tickell on guitar and dobro. “Lord show yourself”, “Not in my name” and the poignant, folk-inspired “Hartley Pit Catastrophe” are the best of the group.

Afton Wolfe, “Kings For Sale” (Grandiflora Records) – Mississippi-born musical adventurer Afton Wolfe’s first full-length solo album is a truly fascinating proposition, rooted in the authentic spirit of Americana, but abundant with tantalizing forays into the alluring Worlds of jazz and avant-garde. Wolfe apparently spent his formative years as an aspiring artist practicing his craft in the New Orleans area, and the influence of this legendary musical melting pot has shaped many of his most compelling creations here. This highly anticipated sequel to the gruff singer’s long-late 2020 debut EP, “Petronius’ Last Meal,” features superb entries from some of the best roots musicians the states of Mississippi and Tennessee have to offer, with the excellent Cary Hudson deserves a special mention on the shows for his great harmonica and bottleneck guitar work on the first single extracted from the album “Dirty Girl”.

Kevin Burt, “Stone Cold Crazy” (Gulf Coast Records) – Iowa-born Kevin Burt has been delighting American Midwest audiences for about a quarter of a century with his visceral brand of electric blues and his latest album for Mike Zitos Golf Coast Records ideal introduction to the larger-than-life artist’s no-frills approach to making music. The Supremo Zito label plays guitar here and takes care of production, but Burt stars the show, and this self-taught performer’s vocals are strangely reminiscent of the late-lamented Bill Withers who had soulful jewels like “Something Special About You” Stone Crazy “and” Same Old Thing “for your listening pleasure.