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Jimbo Mathus

Blue Light

Big Legal Mess Records

"Bartender! Another Lone Star! What... you only have Bud Light? Oh, what the hell. And one for the lady... no, the blonde, over there!" Damn, this is real cry-in-your-beer country. Someone's tuning up the steel guitar as the rest of the band arrives on stage in varying degrees of sobriety, and there's chicken wire around the stage, but they didn't sweep up the glass from last night. Looks like they cut the microphone cable. You wanna live the dream, but the closest you'll ever get is hearing this band, and this guy can sing it better than anyone since Hank Senior.

Jimbo Mathus has the cred, the voice and the soul to make the most miserable experiences of life pop alive with a G-chord. Too bad this is just an EP, a mere six songs long, but it's about as country as you can get. The title track, "Blue Light," moseys along like a wino looking for a mark to hit, and the singer's lost everything in a crooked poker game. The wood alcohol is about to take his mind, his eyes are long gone, and if it wasn't for hallucinations he'd have nothing to see. "Haunted John" moves a little faster; the drum thumps fast enough to give urgency to the lyric about the time Jimbo met the ghost of the St. Charles Street Car line, and while it's not quite down to the crossroads to do a deal with Lucifer, there is something supernatural about this music. By the time it's all said and done, the only advice we get from Mr. Jimbo is "Burn Down the Honky Tonk." Yeah, the piano's out of tune, the men's room is backed up, and the microphone has the dynamic range of a Radio Shack project kit from 1972, but arson is a bit extreme even if he thought he found the girl of his dreams and now he's alone.

He lost his sweet dark angle, but fer cryin' out loud, the rest of us still might get lucky tonight. "Barkeep! Beer me! Hell, yeah I got money... somewhere... oh, forget it."

Big Legal Mess Records: biglegalmessrecords.com