The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Austin Powell, July 11, 2008, Music

Possessed By Paul James

Cold and Blind (Voodoo Rhythm)

The stories spun by Kerrville's Konrad Wert as Possessed by Paul James crackle and pop like lost entries of John Lomax's field recordings, artifacts of the Old South sung with the conviction of a penitentiary inmate. Recorded live at various locations, Cold and Blind could double as the soundtrack for the film The Folk Singer: A Tale of God, Love & Redemption, which traces Wert's travels through juke joints and dive bars. As Wert's second album treads a path between Appalachian folk and Son House's deathly blues, "Come to the Water" finds the singer at his most possessed, whooping and hollering with a hound dog's fervor, while the fiddle-fueled "The Gallows" duels like the devil down in Georgia. For a one-manned band, PBPJ covers a lot of ground, from the banjo-laden title track and wrenching ballad "Love's Disease" to the familial drama of "Ferris Wheel" and closing mud-hole stomp "Fiddle Run."


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