Ok, I’ll put my hands up and admit it; I chose this album based on the front cover. I’m not the first person to do this and I’m sure I won’t be the last but it just goes to show that I’ll step out of my usual genres if the album cover is eye-catching.

Let’s get the basics out of the way first, Afton Wolfe is a Mississippi native, has a voice like Johnny Cash and his music is a clever blend of blues, country and gospel, all served up with a side order of Van Morrison emotive punches and orchestral nods. If you want your blues to come with the usual suspects of guitar, bass, drums and maybe a harmonica thrown in for authenticity, well you’re in for a treat because this is blues but Super-Sized with added trumpet, violin, flute and sax and the final dish is actually rather sumptuous.

The voice is the key here, it’s bassy, pebble-dashed and does well to get around the lyrics – I guess the English equivalent would be someone like Ags Connolly, who, although not having the exact same vocal tone, manages to paint similar pictures of everyday life whilst skirting between country and blues (oh and the beard of course!)

‘Cry’ opens up proceedings and harks back to those soulful recordings of the 60’s – I’m thinking Wilson Pickett here – that managed to demonstrate that men had feelings too. This is gospel-tinged and surprisingly uplifting and the backing choir is so nicely placed that it sounds as if this song has been loitering around dive bars for decades. For some reason the guitar solo reminds me of 90’s era Aerosmith – this isn’t a bad thing.

My favourite track of the EP is ‘Truck Driving Man’, it’s dark, moody, sinister and has this wonderful walking pace drum beat that grows with a haunting violin, this is how you do atmospheric! It’s a breath in and lean back tune, take it in people, take it in.

‘So Purple’ has a wonderful rhythmic backbone; a drum shuffle mixed with a distorted thumping bass, it’s prime for sampling, and that’s even before the double-tracked vocal and flute (yes, flute) comes in. I’m so glad I took a punt on this EP because there are layer upon layer of little tweaks and added details that only comes about by listening over and over. We don’t go to ‘typical’ territory until ‘Late Nite Radio’, where the song relies on guitar, drums and piano to underpin that voice, that drips with emotion and yearning – if this was a Taylor Swift song there would be millions of people commenting on how good it is, waving their phones in the air and singing along – and is a fine closer to the album.

By now I imagine it’s pretty clear that I was impressed with everything on offer here, in fact I love it that someone has taken the typical and decided to give it a facelift by including cleverly thought out instruments to really enhance the songs. There is a time for one-man-and-a-guitar but with songs so big, why not emply a big sound… brilliant.

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