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CD Review: Eric Lindell's Gulf Coast Highway 

The Deal: Rocking roadhouse blues and R&B with a soulful twist.

The Good: Eric Lindell's gritty soul recalls the '60s Memphis sounds of Stax/Volt days (Otis Redding, Sam and Dave) stuffed into a soulful po-boy sammich that could have been made in Cosimo Matassa's New Orleans studio (Lee Dorsey, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint). Punched up with former local sideman Jimmy Carpenter's tenor sax and Galactic drummer Stanton Moore providing the funky percussion on many cuts, Lindell adds wiggly, fonked-up lead guitar to the N'awlins-flavored mix. Lindell sounds like Delbert McClinton on a hot night in the Crescent City, sweatin' through a powerhouse set of soul and R&B. Like McClinton, Lindell is all over the place. His originals are a mix of old school R&B ("If Love Can't Find A Way"), rockin' honky tonk ("It's A Drag ") and slinky country soul ("Lullaby for Mercy Ann"). His covers show off Lindell's originality as well. "Take back the weed/take back the cocaine baby/take back the pills/take back the whiskey too," he pleads on his drastically rearranged cover of Willie and Waylon's "I Can Get Off On You." Lindell's version is driven by a prancing second line rhythm fit for struttin'. Buck Owens' classic weeper "Crying Time" rockets by, fueled by a jangly fonk payload that sounds like a Meters house party right before the walls blow down.

The Bad: Some are gonna say he's cloning McClinton. The vocals are similar – both have the same world-weary soul sound squoze up from throats embedded with decades of hard livin' grit. But Lindell only discovered McClinton a few years back. Now a big McClinton fan, Lindell out-Delberts Delbert with his version of McClinton's "Here Come the Blues Again." But Lindell is very much his own man – with his own musical style that mixes the sounds of New Orleans, the Delta, Memphis and country and Western soul.

The Verdict: He's getting better with every release. Include him in your travel plans until he gets around to visiting your town.

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