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James Jackson Toth aka Wooden Wand is back this week with his latest album of smoky country rock. Didn't he just bring out an album? Is he coming to another period of intense productivity like he had a few years ago when there seemed to be something new from him every month or two? Anyway, I'm enjoying 'Farmer's Chair', he seems to have dropped the blues-rock leanings we've been hearing from him lately, opting this time for a low-key shuffling hangdog country seen through a lens of foggy ethereal psychedelia.
'Uneasy Piece' is an early highlight, a plodding rhythm section with softly brushed drums, a one-chord tremolo strum and a distant glint of shimmering electric guitar crackling faintly away which really gives the song a ghostly lift. 'Dambuilding' is lovely too, pretty straightforward stuff but with some beautiful turns of phrase, a vocal take that avoids the regrettable country twang he drops into some songs here, and some lush slide guitar and banjo filling out the sound; it sounds like a long-lost early Jim White gem. 'Port of Call' sees him throw in some distortion in the closest the album comes to a blues-rocker but even this is a ghostly crackling drone over a soft r'n'b groove and far from cliche.
As I mentioned before there are a few numbers that have a bit too much country twang for my liking but overall I think this is one of Toth's stronger outings, plenty to get your teeth into here.
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