Lo Fine's Kevin O'Rourke follows in the well-steeped tradition of alt-country troubadours Will Oldham and Jeff Tweedy. Recorded with a collection of local musicians in his Northeastern home of Connecticut, there is a gray fog that shrouds all of Nine. O'Rourke's voice is the center of attention, grieving yet accepting in its melancholy. When he sings "I never made it to Mexico" on "Chasin' the Sun," it sounds like the sentiments of Ry Cooder, but with a slacker hopelessness that never afflicted the folk cowboy. The forlorn attitude carries throughout. Even when O'Rourke makes the proclamation to "Stay in Bed," it is merely a call to defeat. The music follows his lamentations, with moaning pedal steel on "Thanks for Asking" and "Don't Let Her Know." Even more affecting is the soft vibrato on "Months and Weeks" that finds its way from the Fender guitars to O'Rourke's own pleading wail. Lo Fine may make no allusions to spirits in the woods or spirits in a bottle, but this uniquely residential take on introspective alternative blues hits home a lot closer than the melodrama of many of its contemporaries.
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AllMusic Review by Joshua Glazer