Probably the best folk singersongwriter you’ve never heard of, Delaney Davidson creates brooding, ill-tempered folk with a ragged acoustic guitar and a dry, sneaky voice in the straight vein of Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie and this or that potion of a bitterer Bob Dylan. With some gypsy-ish dark cabaret and goth-country influences, he really starts out strong here – the lyrics are mostly of the train-jumping hobo book of Old Weird America, dealing with drink, dirt and blood (funny given he’s hailing from New Zealand). Davidson accompanies himself on guitar, a carny-accordeon or a violin pops up here and there to give you that smelly seaside town vibe – it’s really good on the foggy atmospherics. The best moment is when the subtly layered guitar loops conjure up a whole history of transcontinental railroad mystery on the bluesy, winding „Dixon Lie“.
Now, if this sounds like any other old songwriter to you, the difference of course lies in the songcraft and the performance. Davidson writes songs that sound as if they’re old traditionals and his performance is understated and haunted by – no, actually, he’s the one haunting his old idols, scavenging around folk history like only the savviest of salty dogs can.