Whisperin and Hollerin - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by Martin Raybould on 30 JANUARY, 2012
This is a debut album of such astonishing assurance that you are tempted to wonder if Lincoln Durham from Austin, Texas is nothing more than a good mimic of the blues-roots style.
But what separates the wheat from the chaff in this genre is authenticity and this young man has it in spades.
His rasping growl perfectly evokes a parched and lonesome drifter facing another dusty highway."It is my agony put into words and music", he says and when you hear the passion he pours into these eleven songs you'd be a fool to doubt him.
In Reckoning Lament, Durham name checks Robert Johnson and Fred McDowell and plays slide guitar to die for. This may be old school revivalism but his strength is that he instinctively knows how to tap into the power and energy of the devil's music.
Despite his relative youth, he sounds like a wise old bluesman when he sings: "To forget your past is to lose yourself".(Love Letters).
The album incorporates the four tracks from his eponymous ep from 2010 - Living This Hard, Georgia Lee, How Does The Crow Fly and Reckoning Lament.
All of these are essentially just Durham on Gibson guitar and Rick Richards on drums. Producers Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff have wisely decided to keep this raw, no frills formula for the newer songs.
It is no wonder that Hubbard has pronounced Durham as "the real deal" and I for one wouldn't argue with him.
NO DEPRESSION - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by JULIE WENGER WATSON on 28 JANUARY, 2012
Lincoln Durham's new release, "The Shovel [vs]The Howling Bones," debuts today (January 31).
Co-produced by none other than Texas music legend, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the CD is 11 original tracks featuring several of Austin's musical elite (including some skillful picking by RWH himself) and showcasing Durham's soulful, gritty voice and smart, dark lyrics that belie this musician's relative youth.
Durham will open for The Band of Heathens at Tulsa's All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouseon Saturday February 4. This Texas lineup should prove to be a memorable night of music.
With a voice that has been compared to Ray LaMontagne and Paul Rodgers, brooding lyrics that dance intriguingly on the edge of ghoulish, and an intense, swampy, Mississippi Delta sound, Durham has the soul of an old bluesman. That Howlin' Wolf-ish soul, however, finds its incarnation in the form of a polite, gracious and upbeat young man from a small town in northern Central Texas, I discovered in a recent phone interview.
"I'm from a little town," Durham told me. "Well, I was born in Whitney, Texas. I was raised in Itasca, Texas, and, really, the only reason I was born in Whitney was because it was the closest hospital there was to Itasca." According to Durham, Itasca is pretty small. "When I was a kid, it was probably about 1000 people, and I would imagine it is still maybe a thousand and one people," he joked. "It's on 35. People pass through it all the time. They just don't know it. Yeah, just a little town. Home of the Wampus Cats, actually," Durham noted, referring to the local school mascot, a mythical cougar-like creature.
With the encouragement of his musical mentor Ray Wylie Hubbard, Durham moved to Austin about four years ago. "I came down just to go at it with the music," Durham said. "(Hubbard) really pushed for the move down to Austin, and yeah, I have not regretted it a single day ever since. I would not leave Austin now. I love the town. I love the vibe, and I love the people."
Durham credits Hubbard with teaching him a lot of what he knows. The two met at a New Year's Eve gig Hubbard played a number of years ago. Hubbard liked what he heard of Durham's music and saw the potential in the young artist. According to Durham, Hubbard started "teaching me the ropes of the music business. He's the one that first taught me to fingerpick, and so it kind of all started from there, and he took me under his wing and I attribute a lot of what I do now to the seed that he planted."
Durham describes what he does now as an "eccentric one-man band". A contest fiddle player in his youth, this innovative musician has been adding instruments to his repertoire ever since. "My dad and my grandpa got me playing the fiddle when I was four years old," Durham recounts. From the Bob Wills and bluegrass fiddle tunes of his early years, Durham "ventured off into guitar", and his live act has kept growing. "It's gotten really pretty big now. I play this PorchBoard. It's a kick drum sounding thing that's just like a mic rigged up under a rail of wood that this place out of Wisconsin makes. It gives a kind of big boom. I play the resonator and guitar and harmonica with it, and then do some fiddle songs. Working on some banjo stuff right now. It's gotten over time to where it's this kind of eccentric, loud solo thing that people say sounds like a full band, so I think I'm just going to ride that as long as I can, because I figure doing the solo thing, if I add mandolin, banjo and fiddle...it kind of makes up a one-man show."
When he started out, Durham never intended to be a solo act. "It was my intent always, really, to get a band," he noted. "What it was originally was Ray again, his influence," Durham said. "He was showing me fingerstyle and he said to learn to play bass with your thumb and things like that so you'll be able to carry a tune without anybody and add people when you need them, so that's the basis for what I do."
His solo show has been well received. "People really started talking about it and really digging it because it's a lot of volume. I don't mean loud as in 'hey, I'm going to knock you down with this.' It's just a full sound. Anyway, people started talking about that and so I thought, well, I'll just stick with what people are buzzing about so that's really what I'm doing. It was never fully intentional; it just kind of happened," Durham explained.
When he isn't playing solo, Durham knows how to surround himself with great players. In addition to Hubbard, who is on the lovely cut "Clementine" from Durham's new release, other musicians on the Lone Star-studded CD include Hubbard's longtime drummer, Rick Richards. Of Richards, Durham commented, "Honestly, I could not imagine doing a record, especially that record, without Rick...I knew him from early on, and he's Ray's drummer, so he was a no brainer, and he's on every album you love." Co-producer George Reiff, Derek O'Brien, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Bukka Allen round out this talent rich pool of players. If you listen closely, you'll even hear some great back up vocals from Idgy Vaughn. "Her backup on 'Truckers' made that song," Durham said. "It turned the song from just bland and boring into one of the cooler ones on the CD. It was just perfect. It was real kind of back woodsy, but still right in the right spot. She's got the perfect vibe for that. I was really happy with that."
Durham's wife Alissa appears on the CD, too. He gives Alissa a lot of credit for fostering his own career. "Yeah, she beat on a box and gang sang with us on "People of the Land," and that was cool because she's the brains behind the whole thing...She sacrifices a lot, you know, because she has to work as hard as I do, but it's for my dream. It's easier for me to work hard because it's my dream, but with her, it's a really cool thing for her to work as hard as I do."
It's a dream Durham has had for a long time, and it appears he's realizing it. "All my life I thought my lot in life was to be a musician. I never knew how or necessarily took it seriously. I just thought that's the way I would end up," he laughed.
The Independent - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by THE INDEPENDENT
Young tyro bluesman Lincoln Durham has the whiskery mien and gravelly voice of an old black man several times his age, and the sensibility to match. His songs here reflect the album title's emphasis on life and death; "Reckoning Lament" is stippled with imagery of dry creeks, circling black birds, and similar portents of impending doom. Durham plays antique guitars – one 1929 model has a "wooden cone resonator" – with a febrile ferocity akin to Son House, his driving rhythms tempered occasionally by wistful harmonica, and his springy slide-guitar riffs developing a scudding momentum that recalls Seasick Steve. There are moments when his weather-beaten angst comes across as too artfully distressed, but his album seems haunted by enough ghostly spirits to confirm his intentions are sincere.
Pop Matters - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by JEDD BEAUDOIN
Lincoln Durham's songs are rough around the edges, informed by the history of American roots music—folk and country and blues—as well as rock 'n' roll's loose and lewd energy and attitude. Never mind the comparisons likely to tumble forth, Durham's material speaks for itself, namely pieces such as "Mud Puddles", on which Durham tempers the sweltering sweetness of the south with a dash of desirable wickedness, and "Drifting Wood", a track about as dirty and pointed as can be. Elsewhere, "Clementine" and "Trucker's Love Song" offer a glimpse of Durham's quieter side. Those moments are great and all but it's the loud ones—and there are plenty of those—that will keep you coming back for more.
LoneStarMusic - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by RICHARD SKANSE on 20 JANUARY, 2012
Lincoln Durham's full-length debut opens with the ominous, funeral-march thump of Rick Richards' booming drums, followed by the sinister, rattlesnake sting of a resonator slide guitar and a grim lyric about a wayward soul's path to destruction and a world "burning down to ashes." After that, The Shovel [vs.] the Howling Bones gets dark. Durham is only in his early 30s, but he writes, sings and plays primal, death-rattle blues with such frightening conviction, he probably gives even a grissled growler like Ray Wylie Hubbard (who co-produced the album with George Reiff) the willies. Four of the songs on The Shovel ("Living This Hard," "Reckoning Lament," "How Does a Crow Fly" and "Georgia Lee") first appeared on Durham's excellent 2010 EP, but the remaining six tracks here are every bit as compelling, including the disarmingly tender "Clementine," which could loosely be defined as a love ballad. Granted, it's a love ballad sung from the grave, but it's the thought that counts
Galleywinter - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by BRAD BEHELER on 20 JANUARY, 2012
Lincoln Durham is a walking, talking, wailing, riffing revelation roots music revivalist. His modern spin on the Mississippi Delta blues music originally created by the likes of Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell is a standout in a world full of synthetic and homogeonized music created to feed lowest common denominator expectations and playlists.
Durham's gritty stylings are orchestrated masterfully from the production of Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff. Between the three of them, they create a murky mood of greasy redemption set to the tone of a bloodhound staring at a full moon. Several of the songs on this collection ("Reckoning Lament", How Does a Crow Fly" among others) have been re-mastered from Durham's debut EP. When combined with new tracks such as "Drifting Wood" and "Last Red Dawn" the collection comes together as a striking trip through the soul of American music. The songs are filled with shady characters and shadier motives. Durham has found a knack with his writing to showcase the seedier sides of human emotion and make the despicable and desperate almost admirable.
Ringing Gibson guitars are paired with Durham's pained, gripping vocals that sound as if Ray LaMontagne swallowed razor blades and took vocal lessons from Howlin' Wolf. You don't just listen to this record, you feel it…experience it. Each syllable and note impacts you. Durham's made an album that blues afficianados can respect and Texas Music fans can appreciate. Take the pen of Townes Van Zandt and the spirit of Muddy Waters and that comes as close to setting the scene of this album as any description I can give. A wonderfully and wholly realized project that exemplifies all the best authentic qualities of Texas Music…of American music.
Music News - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by ANDY SNIPPER on 15 JANUARY, 2012
Debut albums aren't supposed to be this confident and powerful – or as good.
A pair of eyes stare out at you from the cover, at once glaring and angry but with a spark of an amused guffaw – this is just daring you to look under the cover and hear his stories. And great stories they are too, tales of hard life and hard work but tales of hard play and hard love as well. Musically he cinches right into that hardship with a tough, harsh and resonant voice and strident playing – this is Southern Texas writ in blood and stone. But all through there is a sense of pride and joy and even of fun. When he sings of 'Clementine' he is asking her not to cry but coupling it with gentle playing and a tuneful voice in opposition to the opener 'Drifting Wood' where his rasping voice is calling to the river to "have mercy, mercy on the drifting wood".
This whole album sounds as though it could have been recorded anytime from back in the days of the depression through the hard days of the fifties or in the revolution of the '60's but it could only come from the hardlands of southern Texas. There is a quote in the liner notes that sums this up brilliantly:"Recorded at George Reiff studios using early to mid-century Gibsons, Kays, Silvertones, Voss, Bell & Howells, guitars found in potted plants, cardboard boxes, bird feeders, oil pans, hacksaws, feet and anything else that would make a noise" – you can hear all that in here and it still makes for musical satisfaction but doesn't overshadow wither his voice or his songs.
When he plays hard his guitar is right alongside his vocal, underpinning his Texas drawl but emphasising it as well and I can hear the likes of Son House proclaiming through his songs, I love to listen to tracks like 'Mud Puddles' where a simple repetitive drum beat sits behind his playing on a 1929 Gibson with a harmonica howling quietly behind his vocal – the dense and almost impenetrable sound is almost touchable.
Eleven tracks and eleven different takes on his raw Blues but there isn't a single track that doesn't deserve a place on any medium I happen to be listening through. This guy is a rare talent, even more so as there are so many playing this style of music without a tenth of his quality and a hundred times les integrity.
Northern Sky - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by ALLAN WILKINSON on 15 JANUARY, 2012
It does appear strange that the name of two beautiful cathedral cites in England should be associated with such full-blooded and authentic American music. Lincoln Durham's gritty vocal and determined guitar style dominates the eleven self-penned songs on this his debut full length album. Following hot on the heels of his initial self-titled four song EP (2010), which contained Living This Hard, Georgia Lee, How Does a Crow Fly and Reckoning Lament, all of which appear once again here, the debut album elaborates on something we already know, that Durham is a force to be reckoned with.
With a voice that would equally suit the front person of a full-on rock band, Lincoln Durham's appeal lies in the earthiness of his lyrics and the authenticity of his guitar style, surprising really, in view of the fact that Durham's beginnings in music was as a promising fiddle player, winning the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship at the tender age of ten. The songs on THE SHOVEL Vs the HOWLING BONES couldn't be further from those initial musical endeavours. Georgia Lee wouldn't be out of place on one of Free's early albums, with Durham performing with a vocal not dissimilar from Paul Rodgers.
Durham's mentor Ray Wylie Hubbard seems to have identified a more suitable lineage, claiming that Durham comes from the same musical gene pool as Townes Van Zandt and Son House. Listening to the blues-drenched and pulsating opener Drifting Wood through to the ode-to-the-road ballad Trucker's Love Song, featuring some empathetic backing vocals by the flame-haired Texan singer Idgy Vaughan, it is apparent that each song is delivered with the same sort of gutsy approach of a seasoned bluesman.
Leicester Bangs - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by KEV A. on 7 JANUARY, 2012
A swamp blues set, a great surprise, as Lincoln has the disheveled and unkempt modern rock star look, complete with bowler hat and obligatory whiskers. Just for a minute I thought 'Here we go, a Mumford And Son, all on his own'. Fortunately, no such (bad) luck. This is music that's been weathered, gestated and then raised on blues that are as deep as the South they represent. He never spares his voice, launching it straight into the maelstrom of harmonica and slide guitar that haunts the first three tracks. Even when the pace slows for "Clementine", and then "Mud Puddles", there are no holds barred. If Lincoln were to take up painting you would get a Rothko rather than a Monet. Think Rauschenberg's scrap metal sculptures (a fellow Texas 'miner' of art), crushed and twisted, yet defining the past, the moment, and the future in the work; Lincoln does the same with song.
Intense music is what we have here, conjured up by this young man, and then produced with a startling freshness from Texas music legend Ray Wylie Hubbard. Despite the roots from which it comes, this is modern-sounding blues, constructed by a strange, strong will, and built to last... just like the original material that it was hewn from. Recommended for anyone with heart and soul, and with a need to have both 'moved'.
Billy Bop - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by MR. BLUE BOOGIE on 22 DECEMBER, 2011
Everyone who ever went to the south of Texas, hangs out in Luckenbach, witnessed some gigs at Gruene Hall or just travelled the highways into hill country will understand the beauty of this album. The Longhorns might be long gone, windmills replace oil fields but the musical and cultural traditions still stand in Texas after all those years. If you haven't travelled these roads I can only advise you to do this as soon as possible but in the meantime you can start with this album by Lincoln Durham: The Shovel vs The Howling Bones.
Produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard (a living legend in Southern Texas) and George Reiff and coming with some quotes of Lone Star Music (the leading Label in and around Gruene) on the pr-sheet, this must indeed be the real deal. An he certainly is …from the leading track on you can hear some old bluesman playing his songs, torturing his 1929 Gibson guitar, picking up a wooden cone resonator or plays some fiddle (Lincoln won a Texas Fiddle championship when he was 10 years old). But Lincoln is not an old bluesman at all. And certainly not an old man. Lincoln Durham simply understands what the blues is all about and together with his band and some vintage gear he stomps and howls his way through his blues set or in this case these eleven tracks. Think Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits and Son House to put some names on his unique sound but even then you are not coming close to the final product. Highlights on this album are hard to name but since I must, take a good listen to tunes like "Georgia Lee" and "Clementine".
Although the artist is new, I'm quite familiar with the sound of Southern Texas Music and I can easily say that this album truly makes a difference! If the moniker "The South Will Rise Again" has any meaning left it will probably not be the right one for this album but in all honestly the Lone Star State is high in the sky again with this incredible strong and beautiful album. Heads up and be proud 'cause with some luck Lincoln Durham and his band will tour Europe in 2012. And for those who want to hear more of this and Ray Wylie Hubbard, don't forget to tune into KNBT.fm internet radio!
FETEA - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by NICK CHURCHILL on 18 DECEMBER, 2011
As dry and dusty as the small town desert Texas it immediately invokes, Lincoln Durham's first album blisters with a creeping sense of survival against the odds. Like a threadbare vulture perched on a dustbowl cactus, this is every bit as American Gothic as Grant Wood's famed painting (as opposed to anything to do with Gerard Way and his kind) laced with a black cat bone and three fingers of rye.
Lincoln's parched vocals veer from the sweet hopeful cadence of Clementine to the desiccated rumble of Reckoning Lament, but the record's wretched heart and soul lies in the knowing production of Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff who have ably captured the sparse guitars (an array of vintage acoustics) and sundry percussion tools (boxes, trash cans, bird feeders) to create a sonic environment that feeds Durham's storytelling.
This brand of badlands blues summons a bubbling cauldron of influences from Son House to ZZ Top; Leon Redbone to Townes Van Zandt; even a flavour of a Tom Waits or a John Lee Hooker. But for all the heritage, Lincoln Durham has fashioned a sound of his own that calls out for wider attention.
Lonesome Highway - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by LONESOME HIGHWAY on 9 DECEMBER, 2011
That this album has the names of Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff as producers should give some indication of where it's heading musically. Surprisingly as Reiff is himself a bass player there is no bass guitar on the album. There's the redoubtable Rick Richards on drums, a sound that is central to the songs here, and a whole lot of guitar, dirty, slip-sliding, barbed wire guitars. Many of them are vintage and their heritage shows. These are guitar that have been played and loved. Durham is joined by fellow string seductors Jeff Plankenhorn, Derek O'Brien, Ray Wylie Hubbard and George Reiff. All add tone, texture and tenor to the songs on offer. Songs delivered in Durham's suitably sand-papered and distressed denim voice. These songs resonate with these times. They speak of "living this hard" and of "people of the land". They are swamp-drenched, wrecking-yard blues and rock 'n' roll viginettes drawn from the darker corners but strangely addictive and energising. It's hard to pull individual songs from the album as it seems to fit as a whole but the opening track Drifting Wood sets the tone, Clementine has a more melodic nature as does Trucker's Love Song a band song with shared vocals, insistent percussion and Bucca Allen's accordion adding another musical texture. How Does A Crow Fly would perhaps not be out of place on a Ryan Bingham album. Those who like their music hard-edged and dirty and have a liking for any of guitar/drum combos out there should equally like this. I do.
getreadytorock.com - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by PETE WHALLEY on 13 DECEMBER, 2011
The blues guitar / percussion combo isn't exactly a new formula. And of recent times both Seasick Steve and Jack White have successfully exploited their love of the blues by stripping it back to just these basics.
So with his acoustic Gibson slide guitar with gnarly pickups screwed to it, it's inevitable that Lincoln Durham will draw comparisons with Seasick. But in a spitting contest, like a young gunslinger, The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones is likely to kick Steve's, now somewhat comfortable, ass.
But while he won the Texas State Youth fiddle championship at the age of 10, somewhere down the line Lincoln Durham - a young man with haunted eyes and the whiskey soaked vocals of a young Paul Rodgers - sold his soul to the Devil in return for that of a withered, weathered old bluesman.
Recorded using early to mid century Gibsons, Kays, Sivertones, Voxes, Bells & Howells guitars and supported by Rick Richards on drums and with just the occasional helping hand on guitars, mandolin, piano, accordion and backing vocals, The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones bleeds blues authenticity. It's dark, raw, and passionate. And to coin a much used phrase 'the real deal'. ****
Folk Radio UK - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by ALEX on 30 NOVEMBER, 2011
A battered old bastardized gibson guitar, gravel, grit, mud, Fred McDowell, red skies, wood shack, dry bones and a locket Of a woman who's much too good fo a man are all part of the visionary world of Lincoln Durham's debut album The Shovel vs The Howling Bones. He hails from the hills of southwest Texas and his music was raised on the roots of bluegrass and blues. To have captured more than a fleeting interest from Ray Wylie Hubbard is testimony to the mans passion as Ray produced the album with George Reiff.
Ray collared Michael Clark Lorenzo (Novelist/Poet/Author) to write Lincoln Durham's biography which reads like a road trip…a nice twist and recollection of his first introducton to the music of Lincoln Durham as they were drivin' down Purgatory Road just outside of Wimberley as the sun's goin' down…
Lincoln Durham simply owns the stage! Equipped with old, makeshift 1950s amps, resonators, fiddles, harmonicas, tin can microphones, slides, stomp boards and you name it, Lincoln gives birth to a sound that transcends genres. His dark, poetic and raw writing style is reminiscent of his mentor R.W. Hubbard, telling tales that Poe would have been proud of. His guitar work is like a locomotive pumping and driving the runaway train that is Lincoln Durham and his music. This is not to imply that any of it is in any way out of control. On the contrary, he never stops driving that train.
Comparisons by Ray Wylie Hubbard of his current pride and glory to Son House and Townes Van Zandt set very high standards; both musicially and lyrically and The Shovel vs The Howling Bones do live up to both. The opener 'Drifting Wood' sets the stage with its stripped down drum beat, driving blues guitar slide and a gravelly voiced Lincoln Durham. It has a dirty raw sound that raises those neck hairs and leaves you wanting more, his music is stripped back bare roots stuff.
The album contrasts between strong accoustic to blues rock. A grass roots sound shines through with mandolin and guitar which get roughed up by harmonica, old guitar pick-ups, trash cans and even birdfeeders (How Does a Crow Fly)! A more soothing side sneaks on through in places with an old rag sounding Clementine which skips along like a gravelly Mississippi John Hurt.
Lyrically the album is filled with tales of lost dreams…
"It is my agony put into words and music via 11 songs," Lincoln explains. "It is the story of building dreams and tearing down those dreams all in the same moment. I am both the shovel and the howling bones. Burying while at the same time howling and contesting my own burial. It is my existence."
The sentiment is buried in blues, gospel and soul, steady and solid ingredients that helped make likes of Led Zeppelin and Mavis Staples. It strides between several genres that make it hard to pin down but it has all the feel of an early rock classic, it's not contrived and a great listen! Sit back and turn the volume up!
John Koenig, Stuff I Like - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
by JOHN KOENIG on 30 NOVEMBER, 2011
I'm a fan of dark, mysterious, intelligent songwriting with music to match. Durham weaves rootsy vigor and chops with a selection of old, cobbled-together instruments and devices from decades past to create spooky, evocative music on The Shovel vs The Howling Bones. He sounds ancient and fresh at the same time.
An image summoned to my mind while listening is of a Leon Redbone performance I attended years ago. Redbone was surrounded on stage by a big cast of instruments laid out in circles around him. Lincoln Durham sounds like the dark, other-side-of-the-tracks version of Redbone gone roots. His percussion is ghostly, and effective. But most of all his voice. What an old, used, presence. Mix liberally with storytelling demanding attention from a listener, and voila, The Shovel vs The Howling Bones is one of those records you play for a friend without introduction, then sit back and wait for the "holy $%^$!" reaction.
I'm stunned by this recording. And a day later, I keep hearing Lincoln Durham in my mind, and want to listen again.
Broken Jukebox - EP
by ADAM on 15 JUNE, 2010
It's guys like this that make me wish someone would offer me a job in Austin, so I could uproot my family and move there (not that I have an serviceable skill mind you). This ep is a teaser to a debut album that is supposed to hit the shelves sometime this year. Four songs of all kinds of gritty, bluesy, roll down the window and sing along fun.
It's no surprise that Ray Wylie Hubbard has signed on to produce young Durham's record. The talent is overfilling the cup. Slide guitar, harmonica, a hellacious backbeat and vocals that would make Muddy Waters proud. Not to say this is a straight blues recording as Durham definitely has that Texas country charm intertwined with his whiskey drenched delta sound.
I would try to single out my favorite tracks, but with only four it is nearly impossible. "Livin' This Hard" starts the disc out right with a hard rock n' roll sound that gets you in the right mood.
"Georgia Lee" tells the story of a rough southern woman who wears a tattered dress and plays "Hoochie Coochie Man" on a guitar "blessed by Muddy's hand" .
The next song " How Does a Crow Fly" slows the tempo down a little and shows that Durham is no one trick pony. It really showcases his songwriting ability with lines like "I met a girl white as snow, I turned her a shade of grey".
The last track on the short disc also tells of a man who loves the old blues. "Reckoning Lament" references Robert Johnson's verse and Fred McDowell's slide guitar by name. You can really hear Hubbard's influence on this track as it would have been quite comfortable residing on his last release A. Enlightment B. Endarkenment (Hint there is no C).
I have listened to this disc a dozen times through since receiving it yesterday and have not tired of it yet. On top of that I have viewed every Lincoln Durham video available on Youtube today. This kid is the real deal and my only complaint is that this is only four songs. Oh one more petty complaint, when his record comes out I will already have four tracks of it, so there won't be a whole album of new ones.
If I lived in Texas, I would be going to see him as often as I could while he is still playing solo in bars just so I could soak in the feel. Learn more about Lincoln Durham on his website here.
Here is a promo video for "Reckoning Lament". It's just Durham and his guitar and it is f***ing great.
Lone Star Music Magazine - EP
by RICHARD SKANSE on 9 JUNE, 2010
"Out of all the young apprentices that Ray Wylie Hubbard has taken under his wing, Lincoln Durham is the first to really come close to rivaling the master in the grit 'n' groove department. While Hayes Carll was coming down from Hubbard mountain with a head full of enlightenment and drunken poets' dreams, Durham was sneaking out the back door with the Wylie Lama's Resonator mojo. Or who knows? Maybe Hubbard's the one who's been gleaning a little off of Durham, because stuff this real just can't be taught overnight. Intended as a sneak-peak of Durham's full-length debut (co-produced by Hubbard and George Reiff and due out later this fall), this four-song sampler stomps and slides with bruising, bone-rattling conviction. The song titles - "Reckoning Lament," "How Does a Crow Fly," "Georgia Lee," "Living This Hard" - pretty much give away the plot, but it's not the tales so much as the telling here that really counts. There's not a trace of affectation in Durham's raspy growl of a voice, and his slide guitar cuts deep and mean. From the coiled, snarling groove of the opening "Reckoning Lament" through to the hypnotic, "Kashmir"-type stomp of the closing "Living This Hard," this is 12-and-a-half minutes of relentlessly lowdown 'n' dirty, kick-ass blues." - Richard Skanse
No Depression - Live at The Saxon Pub
by SHANNON HUDSON on 1 MARCH, 2010
Every once in awhile, in the midst of sifting and sorting my way through the ridiculous amount of music that is available on the internet to sample, I come across one of those gems that makes all of the endless hours completely worth it. Luckily for me, last week was one of those times.
Lincoln Durham's gritty voice and gripping blues grooves take about 5 seconds to jump out at me as something special. About 10 seconds into listening, I realize that it's not only special, it's downright dirty and badass. 30 seconds after that, I'm scrambling to find this guy's album so I can buy it. That's the only downside I come across… His debut album is being finished and should be out sometime in the spring. But my luck has not run out yet, because I see Lincoln is from Texas, and happens to be playing at the Saxon Pub this Sunday. I'm now about 2 minutes into listening, and I'm sending my wife a text about the show. It takes her about 10 seconds of listening to confirm that we are definitely going to see this guy.
We roll into the Saxon Pub just after 6PM and Lincoln has already started his set. It's a tiny crowd as expected on a Sunday night. With only a few people in the main part of the room, my wife and I have our choice of seats in the venue...
We are then bombarded with 45 minutes of blues-gritty goodness. Lincoln's voice is a cross between Ray Lamontagne, Ryan Bingham, Bob Seger, and our buddy Jay Buchanan. It's soulful grit matches perfectly with the slide acoustic blues grooves that he's laying down on the guitar. Durham's guitar work is a perfect blend of blues riffs, slide soul, and John Lee Hooker bass line walks. He also has his foot mic'd to keep a steady four to the floor drive behind the groove and is locked in throughout the set. It's definitely a nice touch and ends up being a great compliment to what is going on with the guitar and harmonica in the solo sections.
All in all, I knew I was catching this guy way before his break, which makes me smile. With Ray Wylie Hubbard producing his soon to be released debut album, I know that 6 months from now, there's no way he's going to be playing to this few people on any night of the week, especially in Austin. Judging by the live performance, I fully expect to be seeing Lincoln Durham on much larger stages in the future. For now though, I'll catch him as much as I can on a small intimate scale.
Examiner - EP
by THOMAS MCALEER on 6 APRIL, 2010
Lincoln Durham (www.lincolndurham.com) is a young songwriter/guitar player who exciting to watch. I saw him recently at Cheatham Street Warehouse (www.cheathamstreet.com) twice, and was really impressed by the talent of this young man. I picked up a copy of his EP, and really enjoy listening to it. His new Cd will be out soon, and is being produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard (www.raywylie.com ). "If you dig Son House and Townes Van Zandt...Lincoln Durham is your man. Don't come no cooler. " -Ray Wylie Hubbard
Lincoln recently opened two shows at Cheatham street, once for Midnight River Choir ( www.myspace.com/midrivchoir ) and once for Radney Foster (www.radneyfoster.com) Both shows were very good performances that almost stole the shows from more experienced performers. His dirty sounding guitar playing, along with his thoughtful lyrics, won over both crowds. He also recently played at Ray Wylie Hubbard's Grit and Groove Fest in Luckenbach. If you get a chance to go see this young man live, you should do it. There will be numerous chances in the next few months in the Hill Country, as he's playing in Spicewood, New Braunfels, and Austin this month.
Lincoln started playing the guitar at the age of 4, and at ten he won the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship. He also plays the harmonica, and many different guitars, including slide.
The EP is only 4 songs, and is a great listen. "Living this hard" kicks off the EP, a bluesy look at the life of a hard working man. "Georgia Lee" is next, follwed by "How does a crow fly" and "Reckoning Lament". All the songs show the greasy,nasty sound that led Ray Wylie Hubbard to want to produce the record. I can't wait for the new cd to drop, I'll be buying a copy the day it comes out.
KXAN Austin News - EP
by SUZANNE VANRANDWYK on 1 JULY, 2010
I have an acoustic guitar. I bought an electric guitar…and a bottle-neck slide.
Why? Two words.
The dude can put some serious STANK on the blues. Yes. That's right. I said STANK. If you don't believe me, take a listen.
The few times that I've been fortunate enough to see Lincoln play live, I could feel the joy and passion he has for his work. He gets down and dirty with his music while making it seem effortless. In my book, that's the mark of a great musician.
Durham was born in Whitney, Texas, just a few hours north of Austin. His first instrument was the fiddle, which is something I would love to here him play one of these days. (ahem…hint, hint). It wasn't until his high school years that he picked up a guitar. But he put it aside, as many do, to pursue a more traditional education in art and design. Thankfully, for all of us, he eventually picked up the guitar again, this time with a slide. And the result is a stanky, dirty, grind your boot heels into the ground kind of bluesy, rock that makes you want run out and get your own guitar…which I did!
Whether he is singing about wallying in the mud in "Georgia Lee" or turning a white dove gray in "How Does the Crow Fly", Durham delivers the goods. So if you like stanky, dirty, bluesy, rockin' songs, you should run, not walk, to get your copy of his EP. You won't be disappointed.
Yeah! Lincoln Durham, the Stankmaster of Blues!