Dead Fingers, the husband-and-wife duo of Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor, does not arrive without pedigree. Hollingsworth played guitar, wrote, and sang with Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, while his wife has played keyboards and sung with her sister, neo-folk singer/songwriter Maria Taylor. Together, however, they pursue an Americana sound that seems to touch on all the roots music bases without getting generic. The Birmingham, Alabama-based couple handles a wealth of instruments between them, including guitars, lap steel, acoustic and electric pianos, organ, and percussion, and they're supported by a handful of helpers on bass, drums, horns, etc., but the arrangements throughout Dead Fingers' self-titled debut album are sparsely appointed. All the better for tapping into the earthy, organic vibe that's essential to getting the most from this kind of pan-roots approach. "4 Stone Coaches," for example, is an affecting folk-rock tune full of deft acoustic fingerpicking and poignant lyrics, and the gentle boom-chicka-boom of "On My Way" suggests that other wedded Americana duo, Johnny Cash and June Carter. Things get edgy here too, though -- "Against the River" comes off like Lynyrd Skynyrd getting drunk with Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones, while the gutbucket blues of "Lost in Mississippi" runs on raw, rattling slide guitar, and is leavened by goofy, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. And when Dead Fingers unleash the ragged, electric blues stomp of "Never Be My Man," we're reminded that this album is distributed via Fat Possum Records, and produced by Bruce Watson, who made the label's name in the ‘90s by bringing the razor-edged Mississippi blues of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough to the world. Of course, Dead Fingers would seem out of place alongside those artists, but their debut nevertheless shows that they've at least got an equal amount of honest, American heart.
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AllMusic Review by James Allen