Two very different sides of the character of Jeb Barry and they’re both pretty fine.

Disc 1, ‘The Sainted’, is a full band album featuring Barry’s harsh vocals stylings and songs about all of the hardships in life – tracks such as ‘Trouble Down In Tennessee’ ‘Miss Mississippi’ or ‘Chainsmoker’ talk to the personal hardships of a singer of “hard dirt Americana” while ‘Sad Song’ with its heavy beat and eerie fiddle – Ray Gargan – is somehow both cold and loaded with emotion.

I many respects his vocals remind me of Malcolm Holcombe although not quite that dark and burnt out and the full band of Michael O’Neill (guitars & mandolin), Chris Samson (bass) and Josh Pisano (drums) almost hide in the background, allowing Barry’s vocals and guitar playing to take the lead.

Disc 2, ‘The Saintless’, is just Jeb Barry and his guitar and in t=many respects it is a better album. More visceral and closer to the heart of both the singer and the listener.

‘A Little Mercy’ is poignant and subtle, singing about a break up where the listener isn’t presented with resentment and anger is a clever trick. I sensed Heather Austin’s harmony vocals rather than heard them and the subtlety of the track is wonderful.
I love listening again and again to ‘Southern Oak’. Just a simple song, played easily and really drawing the emotions out, making you relate to someone transported to an unfamiliar home – as relevant to an American moving from Texas to New England as it is to a Syrian in New York. He follows up immediately with the other side of the coin with ‘El Paso Sucks’.

Both albums are excellent but ‘The Saintless’ is exceptional.