On his latest album, Patrick Walsh, the whiskey-soaked harmonica player from the Silver Hearts, presents a tribute to the dirty, lo-fi Mississippi blues of the 1930s. Most of the songs are interpretations of these lost classics by the likes of Bukka White, Skip James, and Robert Johnson. Even the album’s cover art is a tribute to old Vocalion Records albums from the 1930s.
And, true to form, the album’s production is an attempt to out-1930s the 1930s: played on a cigar box guitar and recorded with a scratchy lo-fi recording style that’s muddier than the Mississippi. Combined with Patrick Walsh’s already sub-Tom Waitsian low mumble-growl vocals, the album sounds absolutely torn up, like it was recorded through broken microphones and played through blown-out speakers, making for an at-times challenging listening experience.
Still, the songs absolutely hold up, these sad, desperate songs about loneliness and empty lives, with simple yet poetic lyrics and deceptively simple guitar lines.
Patrick Walsh’s At Midnight Call the Doctor is available for purchase on Bandcamp.
All images courtesy the artist.