Justin Howl – Wanderlust
10 songs time – 37:04
Chicago based Mississippi native Justin Howl does it all as a guitarist, singer, harmonica playing songwriter and producer here on this his second CD. American Roots music with a blues undercurrent. His rhythmic guitar and harmonica are largely played in unison for maximum percussive affect. His subject matter is mainly focused on the complexities of relationships. His rustic and husky voice speed by as he spews out his creative lyrics.
“Interstate 55” is among a few of the tunes that have a close relationship to the blues here. Harmonica and guitar in sync as on most of the rest of the recording. A spoken “to do” list is inserted between choruses on “Things To Do”. He largely plays rack harmonica, but here and on a few other songs he overdubs a harmonica part over his vocal. On “Sweet Babe” the narrator professes his love only to learn that he’s been dumped for another. More of the same sentiment in “I Must Confess”, the two songs are pretty much bookends. The tribulations of a love triangle are discussed on what else, “Love Triangle”. “I’m in love with a woman who’s in love with a woman who’s in love with man”. The man turns out to be him.
He asks why his girl is leaving on “Wanderlust”. Reasons he gives are “Your mama’s a nut job. Your dad is a bore”. Justin throws slide guitar into the mix on the mysterious Delta-vibed “The Magician”. “This I Know” deals with the intricacies of a personal relationship. “Josephina” resembles a tale of pioneer life in it’s storytelling quality.
Roots and blues meet here largely covering relationships. The accompaniment is the rhythmic intertwining of acoustic guitar and harmonica that wears thin at times, but mainly achieves an energetic urgency. The approach is refreshing and a welcome relief from the usual deluge of electric music.