Joe Flood

Cripplin' Crutch

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On his full-length Diesel Only debut, veteran singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Joe Flood has made the kind of album that ought to send any alt-country neophytes scattering for the exits. Cripplin' Crutch is an evocative blend of rock, blues, country, and folk that picks up where the sprung Americana of the Band's self-titled "Brown" album left off. (Flood's honeyed, woody pipes even pitch him somewhere between Richard Manuel and Rick Danko in their lower registers.) The musicians here include such accomplished hands as the album's producer, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, on guitar and ex-dB Will Rigby on drums -- constituting one-half of Steve Earle's Dukes. The tracks, which swing from the upbeat roots rocker "All the Same to You" to the bluesy, elegiac "Shades of Gray" to the stunning, wistful album closer, "So the Story Goes," emerge from a songwriter who's been around the block long enough to really have something to say. "I'd like to buy the world an aspirin and slip it in their Coke," asserts the Downtown New York roots music veteran on "All the Same to You." Well, this album ought to do the trick: it's a well-known fact that great music has curative properties.

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