Micah Blue Smaldone Hither and Thither

The smell of shoe blacking and home-brewed apple cider hangs like a haze over the antiquated twang of Micah Blue Smaldone’s vintage resonator guitar. As skilfully as Hither and Thither recalls classic pre-war blues and ragtime, it’s hard to believe it was recorded in 2005 by a fresh-faced lad of 27. Originally a member of Boston hardcore punk outfit the Pinkerton Thugs, Smaldone found his true musical calling when he discovered the music of musicians such as John Jackson, Lonnie Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt. The old-timey jingle jangle of Smaldone’s textured blues-style finger picking is enough to make a hard man weep. His dusty lyrics — all alas and alack, trembling and hand-wringing — are given life by his plaintive, old-fashioned vibrato. A blues-man himself in a former life, perhaps, or the mournful angel of some luckless Southern sharecropper, Smaldone makes music that both pays tribute to the blues-men of old and stands on its own as a luminous addition to the canon. How lucky we are to bear witness to such loveliness. (North East Indie)