Don Cavalli Cryland

Part timeless bluesman, part ageless hipster, France’s Don Cavalli has snuck up on the world with one of the most stunning albums of the year. At various points in his public life, Cavalli has been compared to R.L. Burnside and Beck, and while there are certainly strains of both in his work these particular comparisons are a tad reductive. Either might have influenced Cryland’s title track but there’s a unique focus to Cavalli’s absorption of the blues and other musical and cultural artefacts that places him in his own category. Cryland is steeped in rich tones, with Cavalli’s voice dominating the proceedings endearingly. Few men could make a song called "Gloom Uprising” so infectiously heartening and, despite its peppy, quasi-hip-hop feel, "I’m Going to a River” is heavy shit. There’s a bit of wah-wah drenched Nashville Skyline-era Dylan bounding within "Vengeance” and the reggae that informs most of the record is most pronounced on the Jimmy Cliff-influenced "Wandering Wanderer,” which is just beautiful. Really and truly, Don Cavalli strikes a wondrous chord with Cryland. (Everloving)