Joe Ely Streets of Sin

Following 2000’s Live at Antone’s and last year’s Flatlanders reunion with Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Ely has taken the solo route again after six years. His passionate Texas storytelling style remains undiminished, although the general sound of Streets of Sin is more stripped-down than usual, and the incorporation of traditional Mexican music put aside in favour of classic soul on "A Flood on Our Hands,” and gutbucket blues on "Run Little Pony,” among other examples of Ely’s diversity. The album’s most poignant moment though, may be the closer "I Gotta Find Ol’ Joe,” which could be a lament for either Ely’s own misspent youth, or his dearly departed friend Joe Strummer. Either way, it’s a fitting end to a satisfying, if unspectacular, return for one of the modern-day legends of Texas music. (Rounder)