Published Mar 25, 2016Introducing: Trevor Sensor, a 22-year-old, gravel-throated troubadour from industrial Sterling, Illinois. One could categorize his unusual, unexpected voice alongside that of the Tallest Man on Earth's Kristian Matsson or July Talk's Peter Dreimanis as a voice that will likely divide listeners into those that love it, and those that can't stand it. And yes, his influences include include Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. He put out a single, "Reaper Man," last summer, and now his first EP, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, is seeing the light of day courtesy of Jagjaguwar.
Opening with the stomping title track, this five-song collection shows Sensor's songwriting range: the bright "Swallows Sing Their Song" finds him taming and softening his wild voice, even adding in some sweet "oohs" to the refrain; the western-sounding "Satan Man" (reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt's "Waitin' Around To Die") features eerie instrumentation and Sensor's voice scraping the bottom of the barrel before really reaching to hit the chorus's highs; closer "Pacing The Cage" is a piano-lead reworking of the Bruce Cockburn original; and "Nothing Is Fair" sounds very, very much like Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (curiously, Dylan was around the same age as Sensor when he penned that wonder), and also tackles the politics and injustices of the time. "Now we fought for something called civil rights, and Michael T. Slager, what gives you the right?," Sensor sings, referencing the officer that shot Walter Scott in April 2015 (to whom the song is dedicated). "I'm so damn scared for my generation, your mind's so numb, with little patience," he continues.
Is Sensor the next Dylan? That's far too much pressure for one young man to be put under. But it's clear that Sensor's got a similar spark to that of Dylan, in terms of penning poetry while being influenced by the troubles of the day, not to mention his guitar technique. Dylan took what he learned from Woody Guthrie and made it his own — time will tell whether Sensor can do the same. (Jagjaguwar)