Lincoln Durham 'Exodus Of The Deemed Unrighteous' - Droog

On his latest album Lincoln Durham further explores those demons that haunt his music. It is again built from the ground up from his voice and guitar with some additional textures to add colour and a strong percussive element supplied by the very solid talent of Rick Richards on drums. There is some gravel in Durham's voice and grit in the songs that comes from somewhere deep and dark. There is something of the hellfire preacher at work here … "Lord strike us down, So we may see, That all mankind can bleed" (Strike Us Down).

There is no compromise in George Reiff's production and it suits the elemental nature of the songs. He continues in the tradition of the traveling bluesman, someone who manages to bring pleasure through the pain of his music. He opens with the statement that "here's a story about a girl who can't seem to quit killing men". I suppose it's all about the company you keep and in some cases here you best keep that company to yourself. That song Annie Departee is as hard as nails and running on rusted rails that take you into a mine that ultimately will bring up a nugget of pleasure.

That approach runs through the album and sets Durham up as a self-contained exponent of modern day though ageless blues. Exodus Of The Deemed Unrighteous may not suit everyone's taste but there is something positive and uplifting in listening to these songs of exodus and righteousness. There are others who plough a similar furrow playing live as a one man band but who add something more to their recordings and Durham has found his sound that has it's lighter moments (Keep On Allie) sitting alongside the harder howls of sin. The end result will, however, not find you sitting on the fence.

Lincoln Durham 'The Shovel Vs The Howling Bones' Self-Release

That this album has the names of Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff as producers should give some indication of where it's heading musically. Surprisingly as Reiff is himself a bass player there is no bass guitar on the album. There's the redoubtable Rick Richards on drums, a sound that is central to the songs here, and a whole lot of guitar, dirty, slip-sliding, barbed wire guitars. Many of them are vintage and their heritage shows. These are guitar that have been played and loved. Durham is joined by fellow string seductors Jeff Plankenhorn, Derek O'Brien, Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff. All add tone, texture and tenor to the songs on offer. Songs delivered in Durham's suitably sand-papered and distressed denim voice. These songs resonate with these times. They speak of "living this hard" and of "people of the land". They are swamp-drenched, wrecking-yard blues and rock 'n' roll viginettes drawn from the darker corners but strangely addictive and energising. It's hard to pull individual songs from the album as it seems to fit as a whole but the opening track Drifting Wood sets the tone, Clementine has a more melodic nature as does Trucker's Love Song a band song with shared vocals, insistent percussion and Bucca Allen's accordion adding another musical texture. How Does A Crow Fly would perhaps not be out of place on a Ryan Bingham album. Those who like their music hard-edged and dirty and have a liking for any of guitar/drum combos out there should equally like this. I do.