Rob Jungklas

Gully

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There's a little Tom Waits and Bruce Cockburn in Rob Jungklas and a little Bob Dylan, too, but mostly he's his own deep-souled tale-twister. Gully, the follow-up to 2003's Arkadelphia, offers more of the same roots music rinsed in grimy regional blues -- you feel sorry at times for the guitars that endured the Gully sessions -- but the lid on these songs won't stay down because of what they have to say. Thoughts gurgle out over the music in a way that's both blistering and mesmerizing (see "God's Right Hand"). And there's a depth of feeling throughout that can't be denied: "Burn It Away," "Ghost," and a few of the others gathered here pack moments of genuine transcendence, even though it can be painful to arrive at. Jungklas is the kind of artist, and these are the kinds of songs, that prove beauty doesn't have to be pretty.

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