Christopher Watkins sings that "everyone here can be repaired with a bottle of wine." But to truly invigorate the battered human spirit, the bitter disappointments, the never-ending compromise with cruel fate and her seven disfigured sea hags, a little wine goes much further when it's accompanied by the Delta blues. Watkins might hail from Iowa City by way of Brooklyn, but after courting a Howling Wolf obsession as a teen, he's well-versed in Americana, traditional folk and gut-bucket variations. Critics throw around the Tom Waits comparisons a little too generously, but as a lyrical storyteller, Preacher has certainly earned some stripes between his days fronting the National Blues and releasing Demanding to Be Next, his fifth full-length. Soul-patched and nose-ringed for today's Kerouac enthusiast, Preacher Boy (who joins Ruthie Foster and Big Head Todd and the Monsters for a special taping of e-town this Sunday) tosses off field shouts, plays vintage steel resonators and honors the likes of Son House, Skip James and Mance Lipscomb -- all from the belly of an old train wreck.
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