Barton Carroll, best known as a guitarist with the band Crooked Fingers, recorded Love & War, his second solo album, in 2001, and it took five years before a record company decided to release it. (Carroll's first album, Barton Carroll, recorded in 1999, remained unreleased.) That gap may be explained by the album's stark, uncompromising style. Carroll sings in a rough tenor, often straining toward falsetto, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar for the most part, with occasional other instruments added. His songs, mostly taken at plodding tempos, reflect on the two issues cited in the title with a bleak tone, both in terms of content and style. His wordy lyrics seem to dictate the long melodies, which have an improvised feel. The result often sounds like the music of a rural, untutored folk singer who happens to be well read.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann