Cast King

Saw Mill Man

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It's not often that a 79 year old is still making records, let alone issuing his first ever. But that's precisely what country guitar picker/singer Cast King has done, with 2005's Saw Mill Man. Cast King's story is an interesting one -- hailing from Old Sand Mountain, AL, King was "discovered" when a gentleman named Matt Downer began recording old-time musicians plucking away at his grandfather's house. At the behest of others, this led to Downer tracking down King (who had supposedly recorded a few songs for Sun Records way back when, before disappearing), and recording commenced at King's house, with only a four-track tape and MiniDisc recorder present. It's commonplace to compare any new country musician to Johnny Cash, but there are certainly some musical parallels between Cash and King here -- especially both artist's ability to make you feel like he's telling his tale directly to you, and in the same room. This is especially true on such stripped-to-the-bone standouts as the album-opening title track, "Wino," "Numb," and "Cheap Motel." Saw Mill Man proves that sometimes the best new artists can come from the most unlikely places -- in fact, it can be an old man living down at the end of the road.

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