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Rob McNurlin

Lonesome Valley Again – 2003 (Buffalo Skinner)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Rob McNurlin

Kentucky singer-songwriter Rob McNurlin's passion for traditional music is well displayed with his latest independent release. McNurlin's writing reflects the influence of Bob Dylan from several stages. "Zero +" and "The Hungry Eye" are reminiscent of Dylan's mid-60's stream of consciousness style, while "Cupid's Last Laugh" and "Lion's Den" recall the "Blood on the Tracks" era.

The haunting "Bag of Bones" has the dark feel of "Time out of Mind," while "Tender Maidens Warning" is a traditional style folk ballad with McNurlin on acoustic guitar and harmonica. Hank Williams' country blues style comes to mind with "Blown Out Of Town" and "Honest as Water," while "Sometimes When I'm Lonesome" is a classic Williamsesque tale of lost love. Similarly "Deep, Deep is the Blue" confronts the elusiveness of love, as does the title track.

McNurlin wrote 12 of the 13 tracks on the disc, which he closes with an effective rendition of "Walk That Lonesome Valley." McNurlin's voice is compelling throughout with a touch of Hank Williams' plaintive wail combined with the soulfulness of David Olney. With a mix of country, folk, blues and gospel Rob McNurlin's third release is an impressive collection. (313 Pritchard St., Ashland, KY 41102, 606-325-7178)