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Justin Lute | Adventures Of Lori Lou (Self-Released / Miles Of Music)
Looking like a younger though much less menacing Hamell On Trial and vocally more than a little reminiscent of Robbie Fulks, Justin Lute's impressive debut ought to put a big wide smile on your face. Not because he's emulated either of those artist's knack for subversively barbed humour, but because he's come up with an album imbued with such engaging songs and spirited performances.
Musically Justin Lute may sail quite closely to some of Fulks' more traditionally honky-tonk inspired material, though there's no evidence of the simmering dark undercurrent that's such a prevalent and integral ingredient to his work. In contrast Lute's predominantly love-oriented songs are exactly that ?? after all the Lori Lou referred to in the title was his childhood sweetheart and is now his wife. His songs still have plenty of edge though ?? they're certainly not overly drenched in sentimentality. Indeed the performances throughout have such an infectious urgency and vibrancy you'd have to be very tough not to succumb.
He may well draw on time tested styles - loosely a hybrid of honky-tonk and early rock 'n' roll with a smidgen of late '50s/early '60s pop and Cajun flavours thrown in for good measure, but there's no denying this album absolutely swings with unbounded joy. One listen to Get It Down, Miss Feeling Pretty and Your Own Angel Song ?? just a smattering of fine examples - and you'll understand.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003