Andrew Delaney & The Horse You Rode In On

He sings like it's been days since he's slept, even more time since he's eaten, and weeks since he's had a break from working in the coal mines.

Andrew Delaney is a storyteller, sure, but you sense he's seen genuine hard times.

Still, Delaney doesn't spin his own personal T.M.I. into our laps. Rather, he draws from it to craft creaky, wooden yarns that stir your insides.

Scoundrels opens with the kind of dry, dusty strum you'd expect at the beginning of a Tarantino film, on "The Saint of Cobb County." Later, "Wine and Roses," which has already garnered airplay on KHYI-95.3 FM The Range, endears with its sing-along hook. And "William and Sweet Mary," the album's most engaging piece, serves a dirge-like, fiddle-infused story-of-rue that puts you right at the Cold Mountain campfire, next to Jack White. But not all the songs are a bummer: "Girl with a Gun" lightheartedly soars, with hopes of young love washing the tough-times blues away.

You don't have to strain to hear Delaney's conviction in Scoundrels' woeful tales, as he channels Steve Earle probably more than he cares to admit. But it's Earle's authenticity that he echoes more than anything else, and really, there's nothing wrong with that. In the slightest.

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Alan Ayo

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