Acoustic Medicine Show | The Road Less Traveled(Independent)
With 50 states to choose from, American roots music covers a pretty wide swath. With his latest thematic disc, The Road Less Traveled, Acoustic Medicine Show mastermind Joe Tobin sounds like he's trying to cover it all. The end result, while pleasant, is, ironically, rootless, with loping cowboy heels on "Traveling Man," ersatz horn-driven R&B on "Baton Rouge," and Texas folk on the album's best track, the string-inflected "I Always Loved You." There are flashes of Peter Case here ("Maria"), the Wildflowers there ("By My Side"), and the beautiful pastiche of the elder Dylan's Desire on "The Road Goes on Forever." But one pines to hear Tobin's own voice amidst the touchstones. More sparse numbers and less faux-salt-on-the-floor shuffles like the swinging "Back on Home" might be a step in the right direction. The playing throughout, by a bevy of talented Hudson Valley helpers, is top notch.