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ALBUM REVIEW: Bud Rokesky – Outsider




A tall, lanky, dark-haired, truck-driving, songwriting stranger. It might sound like a country music cliche but that’s a snapshot of the enigmatic and supremely talented Bud Rokesky, who was interviewed in the last issue of Rhythms. It’s been a while coming for this late bloomer but Outsider is a very special album, a jaw-dropping debut in many respects and an early contender for one of this year’s best.

The album, produced & recorded by Matt Corby & Alex Henriksson, is simply a stunning collection of songs, as promised by it’s three preceding singles. Dark and intimate in nature, it’s the perfect vehicle for Rokesky’s rich and resonant voice – somewhere between Orville Peck, Marlon Williams, Townes Van Zandt and Waylon Jennings and a fine display of country and folk guitar playing. A full band adds additional flesh and bone to some songs; sparkling and soaring on the devotional family ode ‘Baby And I’, the shuffling melancholy of ‘April’ and the heartache sway of ‘Open Doors’. There are sweet and playful melodies on ‘Go It Alone’ and the gospel/soul sound of ‘Winds Roar’ and the Lanois-like blues moan of ‘Strike Out’ are welcome stylistic surprises. 

It’s a bold move to place such a powerful song as ‘Louie’ near the end of the album. It stopped this writer in his tracks at Dashville Skyline festival last year and here it carries equally compelling weight. An exquisite album from start to finish, Outsider is a calling card from a staggering new talent.



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