Otis Gibbs has the kind of hoarse Woodbine croak that has you clearing your throat in sympathy, while his own blue-collar sympathies are clearly on display throughout Joe Hill's Ashes.
It's as if he's trying to embody the lung disease suffered by the miners and drifters that inhabit songs such as "Twelve Men Died In Sago" and "Joe Hill's Ashes". Set to desolate arrangements of fiddle, guitar and banjo, Gibbs' material inhabits a bleak rural landscape of "dust-filled dreams lying flat on the ground", where escape on the Greyhound bus brings only the realisation that "with every mile, my soul gathered rust", and where age is measured by how many friends have died. It's not the most uplifting of material, but there's an authenticity and dedication in Gibbs' delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity.
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