Simon Joyner Lost With The Lights On

On his debut for Jagjaguwar and ninth album in 12 years, songsmith Simon Joyner keeps his profile as a lonesome folk singer strong and healthy. His Nebraskan blues play like a diary for a troubled wanderer walking a dirt road to nowhere. The Dylan-esque speak-sing delivery works in his favour, at times bringing out a tone that’s quite like Leonard Cohen, without the radically low pitch. Furthermore, Joyner’s lyrics are wonderfully quixotic, exposing him as a profound songwriter who knows how to set the soul afire. Lost With The Lights On never really picks itself up and dusts off the dirt, remaining downhearted and grievous all the way through. There is a slight revelation of hope on "Birds Of Spring,” thanks to some bewildered slide guitar and the refrain of "Hallelujah,” but such dashes of optimism are destroyed by the serious depression of "Blue,” which follows it with a scythe. I guess he was just born to play the blues. (Jagjaguwar)