Phil Lee You Should Have Known Me Then

I'd say it was a better than even money bet that Phil Lee has been listening to his Dylan records lately. After the Jerry Lee-fuelled opening "Good For Me," it's straight into "Babylon," which sounds sort of like the Highway 61 band jamming on some Buddy Holly. The Dylan vibe is stronger in "Carl's Got Louise," a "Tombstone Blues"-styled roadhouse scorcher that even contains a line with a highway number. The LP is bluesier and looser than his debut, Mighty King Of Love. "Jemima James" is nice back porch blues, complete with national steel guitar, and "Daddy's Jail" adds a New Orleans facet. "Nobody's Gotta Know" has a hook so catchy that it ought to be illegal, while "Any Harder Than It Is" mixes Memphis soul and Zimmy. Allison Moorer duets on the jangle-y country pop of "It's Crying." Other helping hands come from as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and former and current Wilco-ites Jay Bennett, John Stirrat and Ken Coomer. And in the end, no matter how much it reminds me of Dylan, it somehow doesn't come off as derivative; it sounds heartfelt and honest and damn good, mainly because it is heartfelt, honest and damn good. (Shanachie)