Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous
Reviewed by Michael Lohr
Lincoln Durham is a rare breed of musician, every note he plays, every song he sings feels honest, like it’s the truth, the dirt road gospel, just like Johnny Cash. As my Grandfather once said, “He’s as right as rain.” But Lincoln has a darker artistic side to his persona, a darker side that he explores more extensively on Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous. Yes, he’s right as rain, but with this rain storm comes with roaring thunder and black lightning.
Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous, his powerful follow-up to the landmark The Shovel v The Howling Bones, picks right up where the last record left off. This is Blues with a deeper verve, a muse recognizable to Robert Johnson or Son House. Case-in-point, the murder ballads on this album will give you the ‘heebe geebees’ –especially “Beautifully Sewn/Violently Torn.” “Ballad of a Prodigal Son” is the darkest Delta Blues since the aforementioned Robert Johnson went down to those infamous crossroads.
Songs like “Rise in the River” and “Sinner” swim in apocalyptic Southern Gothic sensibility. One can hear influences of Mellencamp and Springsteen in “Keep On Allie” or on the endearing tune, “Mama,” a song that swirls forth in soul-stirring emotion.
Lincoln is a gritty, modern Texas troubadour in the truest sense of the word, and he still has that dusty, acoustic 1929 Gibson guitar in tow. Now if the rest of the real music loving world would just get onboard.
The Shovel Vs The Howling Bones
Reviewed by Michael Lohr
A musical amalgam of Son House and Gregg Allman, with just a smidgeon of Ray LaMontagne, Lincoln Durham’s haunting, gravelly voice breaks through the darkness like a tolling bell.
A lone-wolf troubadour bringing back honesty, integrity and grit into popular music (well, he’s not totally alone, i.e., the above mentioned LaMontagne, The Civil Wars, Alabama Shakes, etc), he is indeed a revelation.
Steeped in Blues and Roots music, but with a definitely dark Americana vibe, the Whitney-via-Austin, Texas native roars a fiery death-rattle on songs like “Reckoning Lament,” “Last Red Dawn” and “Mud Puddles.” While the retrospective “How Does A Crow Fly” will soothe an aching soul.
With legend and mentor Ray Wylie Hubbard on guitar, a mellower pace is achieved with the contemplative ballad “Clementine.” It reels along echoing a minor refrain, but a brooding storm of emotion exists just below the surface. A love song indeed, but sung earnestly from the grave of a lost lover. You’d be hard pressed to find a more edgy and haunting song, even among Johnny Cash’s back catalog.
On “People of the Land” you will find a poignant tune that could easily serve as the theme song for Katniss Everdeen’s District 12 in The Hunger Games. Durham’s wife Alicia sings backing vocals here and “stomps on a box” as Durham affectionately put it.
With his rustic, acoustic 1929 Gibson guitar in tow, Durham is proving to be the bringer of woe to all things mediocre.