I was seven songs deep into Finlin's gruff and wrangly, roots rugged major label debut—his fourth release overall—when the lightening hit and the nagging question was illuminated. Amid the Stones-taut rhythm of the title track came "A tough ass, as opposed to the latter day lazy ass, Tom Petty". Then a second bolt revealed Randy Newman, Steve Earle, and John Hiatt. But to try and corner Jeff Finlin as a who and who impersonator is quickly dispelled by the tumbling, dry wind narratives that blow through Angels In Disguise.
There's a truckload of heart, highway grit and heartland to be heard on Angels In Disguise. The jangle of Better Than This. The lyrical play of The Long Lonesome Death of the Traveling Man and the stirring Postcard From Topeka. The minimalist, ragged pop of Soho Rain and the all-too-true closer Nothing's Enough inspire replay.
Helping to forge and focus Finlin's distinctive Americana, guitarists Will Kimbrough and Pat Buchanan, add plenty of crack and nuance. With a voice rambling down the road between Dr. John and Leon Russell, here's hoping this Rykodisc release introduces Finlin to a much larger audience. He and they deserve it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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