Clothesline Revival Long Gone

When Lucinda Williams names an artist among her favourites, y’all know you’d better sit up and pay attention. In this case, her man is Conrad Praetzel, the musician behind the offbeat collective known as Clothesline Revival. On Clothesline’s second disc, Long Gone, Praetzel revitalises a cappella blues songs, skipping rhymes, work songs and spirituals with thoroughly modern 21st century musical aesthetics. Archival field recordings from the ’40s — many of which were obtained from the American Folklife Centre at the Library of Congress — are fused with hip-shaking electronic beats, samples and atmospherics as well as lap and pedal steel guitar, double bass, harmonica and dobro. But because of the masterful sound design and ingenious arrangements, what might have simply turned out to be a novelty disc is an unmitigated success. This imaginative reinterpretation of traditional Americana is eccentric, original, deeply soulful and utterly hypnotic. Glory be — do not pass this one by. (Paleo)