Grayson Capps If You Knew My Mind

This sophomore Southern gothic tour de force by the former front-man of the House Levellers opens with "Get Back Up,” a song that soaks into your veins; its grungy guitar and bluesy harmonica hypnotise you for the telling tales that follow. This swampy blues-rocker paints a picture of Capps’ life in New Orleans in his early 20s. With a Southern drawl that drips from his lips, Capps narrates a time when he lived in a place that "ain’t on a map” and that had a "horse and a train and a garden in the back yard.” He recalls this "rotten paradise” as a reminder of where he’s been and as a reminder to keep persevering, whatever the odds. The 11 songs that follow this anthem detail the wanderers and waifs and memorable cast of characters Capps has come to know in New Orleans. The spirit of Southern gothic novelists such as William Faulkner is felt throughout Capps inspired songwriting. The highlight though is "A Love Song for Bobby Long” — a song inspired by his dad’s unfinished novel, which became the basis for the movie of the same name. "The Graveyard” is a sombre song that recalls the murder ballad tradition, popular in bluegrass and old-time country songs. Other key tracks include the finger-picked "Washboard Lisa” and the tender summer lullaby ("I See You”), which closes the disc. (Hyena)