"Dead Man's Shoes"
Roger Kuhn has done gone and did it again, dammit. It's Kuhn and his guitar — and Overhand Sam at the wheel to produce — on "Dead Man's Shoes," an ominous looking and sounding CD with 14 cuts of prime blues beef.
Kuhn is enchanting, mesmerizing, and hypnotic in his approach. The man takes a rudimentary lick, or takes an equally simple lyric, and drives it home. Nobody can call him wordy. Kuhn's blues gets in your head, and it ain't coming out — not without a saw, anyway.
It can come off a bit formulaic in spots, but overall, the guitar playing is deadly in its direct finger-picked simplicity. Kuhn claws at the low notes in a roundabout Piedmont kind of way, only to let the slide notes slip and wiggle around on top like drunken children. The recording is spot-on period correct, and you can hear the room as it encapsulates the music's energy and wail.
"Dead Man's Shoes" is a vintage sounding lo-fi gem that belies its nascent release. Love lost, love won, only to be lost again, and themes of typical blues ambition and swagger tell the story of Roger Kuhn. — BY FRANK DE BLASE