Eric Lindell, “West County Drifter” (CD review)

(recently reviewed for Relix; direct link)

Eric Lindell, West County Drifter (M.C. Records)

A shaggy, rambling lovability defines Eric Lindell, a California-to-Louisiana singer and guitarist initially promoted as a blues artist. At times, particularly on the first of these two discs (both originally self-released as separate albums)—with regular trio mates Myles Weeks on upright bass and Will McMains on drums—Lindell’s throaty, soulful vocals and laidback acoustic grooves recall the likes of G. Love & Special Sauce and JJ Grey.

The shuffling title track—a road-trip song featuring Nick Ellman’s clarinet—and the horn-packed “Try to Understand”—bolstered by Ivan Neville’s organ—are just two of the many keepers.

Other highlights include the tangy opener “Sentimental Lover,” retro-rootsy “Dog Eat Dog” and covers of Curtis Mayfield’s punchy, piano-spiked “Find Another Girl” and the slow-burning “It’s So Hard to Believe.”