Graham Reid | | <1 min read
In these dreadful days when we see desperate migrants on the nightly news and a US presidential candidate says he'd build a wall along the Mexican border, Lance Canales' raw version of Woody Guthrie's Deportee here (“We died in your hills, we died in your deserts . . . some of us are illegal and some are not wanted”) has a powerful resonance.
Especially as he names the Mexican victims of the plane crash which prompted Guthrie.
Canale's gravelly delivery, his roughed-up roots approach on these folk-blues songs of desperation, injustice and hard times, and the power of his storytelling make for compelling listening.
With a small band and some stellar guests (Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson), Canales from California comes off like an angry Dustbowl version of Tom Waits who won't let wrongs go unchallenged.
He brings old blues like Rev. Gary Davis' Death Don't Have No Mercy into the indifferent 21st century.
His earthy originals are equal to those of his inspirations (the menacing Hich-Wyah Man, the timeless moan of Cold Dark Hole) and these 13 songs contain powerful truths about death and life, the latter a blessing and curse.