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Seth Augustus
To The Pouring Rain
Porto Franco Records
www.sethaugustus.com


If you think Tom Waits' singing style is unique, you haven't heard Seth Augustus sing yet. This nine-track release is packed with rough-voiced blues, which might well give Waits a run for his money in the gargling with gravel department.

One imagines there isn't the same huge market for Tom Waits impersonators as there is for, say, Elvis imitators. Heck, there's even a skydiving Elvis impersonator troupe! Not that these sound-alike-isms are intentional; it's just impossible to get away from Augustus' similarity to Waits.

The track that stands out most on To The Pouring Rain is one called "Big Cocoon". Its lyric affectionately speaks of a man wanting to wrap himself around his lover, just like a big cocoon. The music is a mixture of Mexican acoustic guitar, and jazzy saxophone. Less successful, however, is something like "Slim Sam", which leans a little closely to Waits' clanking blues sound. But, whereas Waits rarely fails to create a certain mood with all his noise, Augustus merely gets lost in all the noise.

When it comes to artists like Tom Waits and Elvis, it is always best to insist on the real thing. He may be going down a narrow road, but Seth Augustus mostly comes off like a pale imitation of you-know-who.

-Dan MacIntosh

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