Tom House

Jesus Doesn't Live Here Anymore

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On his fourth release, House sounds like a literate folky converted to a gospel mined of every last hope. The characters of his songs spend their long, dark nights of the soul in the arms of a favorite barmaid because blood is too thick with familial guilt and grief to navigate. Sam Shepard dramas and Flannery O'Connor short stories have nothing on the dim vision of the big, bad world and man's fate depicted in House's dire, word-drunk musical narratives. In certain circles, his hillbilly scat could pass for going off in the tongues of old-fashioned prophesy. House will probably be left to settle for being another underappreciated singer/songwriter with talent to spare. If his singing wasn't so often tangled in the album's cluttered arrangements, his melodies would maybe warrant him more attentive listening among potential fans and patrons in his hometown of Nashville. There's always next time, of course. Or else the afterlife, if the alt-country scene and old-time music revival linger that long.

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