Album: Lincoln Durham, The Shovel vs the Howling Bones (Lincoln Durham/Rayburn Publishing)

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The Independent Culture

Young tyro bluesman Lincoln Durham has the whiskery mien and gravelly voice of an old black man several times his age, and the sensibility to match.

His songs here reflect the album title's emphasis on life and death; "Reckoning Lament" is stippled with imagery of dry creeks, circling black birds, and similar portents of impending doom. Durham plays antique guitars – one 1929 model has a "wooden cone resonator" – with a febrile ferocity akin to Son House, his driving rhythms tempered occasionally by wistful harmonica, and his springy slide-guitar riffs developing a scudding momentum that recalls Seasick Steve. There are moments when his weather-beaten angst comes across as too artfully distressed, but his album seems haunted by enough ghostly spirits to confirm his intentions are sincere.

DOWNLOAD THIS Drifting Wood; Reckoning Lament; Mud Puddles