Haunting sound of the bar room blues

Whiskey Bob Shaker. Photo by Laurine Clifford Photography
Whiskey Bob Shaker. Photo by Laurine Clifford Photography

Some songs haunt you and just won’t let go.

They’re like the lingering of a lover’s kiss; the half-remembered perfume from a long-lost

On his new album, Grape and Grain, Chesterfield troubadour Whiskey Bob Shaker has created music with precisely that ghostly, evocative quality you’ll struggle to exorcise from your mind.

Whiskey Bob, the pseudonym of Rob Laughlin, wears his influences on his sleeve, with three of the ten songs on the album penned by Tom Waits.

But the fact his own material sits so comfortably alongside them is testament to his strength as a songwriter.

Tracks like Fire, with its deceptively simple guitar parts, build powerfully, and his vocals shine through on a capella sections like the opening of Way Down In The Hole.

And on songs like Cold, relating the terrible true tale of the Killamarsh ice tragedy, Bob’s key talent as a story-teller floats to the surface.

Haunting and poetic, you find yourself holding your breath awaiting the awful, inevitable ending.

The whole album aches with longing.

It is the music of the midnight hour, of empty bars and overflowing ashtrays.

It will haunt you.

For more on Whiskey Bob, email rlaughlin@hotmail.co.uk or visit theWhiskey Bob Shaker facebook page.