I must hear him again, unless I imagined him
May 10, 2016 10:16 AM   Subscribe

There's a voice stuck in my head. It's a male singer, blues and folk, about the same timbre as Leonard Cohen but smoother, with a mournful sound and very slight rasp on the higher notes. Who is he?

He's also a bit like Mark Lanegan, but a little lower. One of the closest matches I've heard is Appalachian trad singer Paul Joines from the Smithsonian Folkways project. But I don't think it's any of them. The voice I'm thinking of ranges from medium bass to low baritone and sounds American. The singer sounds sad, and the music is along the lines of murder ballads or slower blues. And it's not Nick Cave.

Does this ring any bells for anyone? After hours of fruitless Googling and Youtubing, I decided to ask the hive mind. But I'm starting to think I might have dreamed him up.
posted by Beethoven's Sith to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Serge Gainsbourg?
posted by jessamyn at 10:26 AM on May 10, 2016


It sounds like something like Johnny Cash
posted by winterportage at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2016


Listened to a couple Paul Joines tracks - reminds me a bit of John Doe's voice.
posted by mdrew at 10:38 AM on May 10, 2016


Early Johnny Cash? Also thinking Tom Waits and Leadbelly.
posted by the webmistress at 10:39 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can you name some lyrics from his song(s), and where you heard it/them? Pinning down a song or two would help narrow down the search.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:40 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




Paul Joines voice reminds me of Doc Watson's. Your description reminds me of Stan Rogers'.
posted by bricoleur at 11:02 AM on May 10, 2016


Townes Van Zandt?
posted by lisa g at 11:19 AM on May 10, 2016


Not any of those, but there are some similarities with Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Leadbelly and Townes Van Zandt in terms of song style, phrasing, and emotion.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 11:39 AM on May 10, 2016


I wonder if your man could be somewhere in here.
posted by the webmistress at 11:53 AM on May 10, 2016


John Prine?
posted by pretentious illiterate at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ralph Stanley

Paul Thorn (fast forward to 1:02 for the music)

Keith Sykes

Jay Williams (pretty obscure but you never know)
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:43 PM on May 10, 2016


Bill Callahan?
posted by deathpanels at 12:49 PM on May 10, 2016


Richard Buckner?
posted by drlith at 1:39 PM on May 10, 2016


He doesn't sing too often, but perhaps Leo Kottke?
posted by CincyBlues at 2:12 PM on May 10, 2016


Any chance it's Micah P. Hinson?
posted by dearwassily at 2:13 PM on May 10, 2016


Lambchop?
posted by ghharr at 2:34 PM on May 10, 2016


Any chance it's Bruce Cockburn?
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:56 PM on May 10, 2016


Perhaps David Sylvian?
posted by svenvog at 4:06 PM on May 10, 2016


Long shot, not really blues/folk or sad or mournful either (depends), but the bass to baritone and American part applies, and I’d think of his voice and music in the same family (in a wider sense) as Mark Lanegan and Tom Waits and Nick Cave and some of it close enough to murder ballads and slower blues... John Grant?
posted by bitteschoen at 4:16 PM on May 10, 2016


Feels like it has to be Chris Rea?
posted by edlundart at 4:20 PM on May 10, 2016


Mark Eitzel?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 5:06 PM on May 10, 2016


The voice is very similar to Chris Rea's but with more of a stripped-down folk acoustic sound. I'm liking all these links, too!
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 6:43 PM on May 10, 2016


For some reason I thought of Skip Spence.
posted by mneekadon at 7:27 PM on May 10, 2016


Wait, on actually listening to Paul Joines, he sounds an awful lot like Roger Miller.
posted by mneekadon at 7:34 PM on May 10, 2016


OK, how's about David Bromberg?
posted by bricoleur at 7:40 PM on May 10, 2016


Seasick Steve? Michael Trent? Brett Sparks? David Eugene Edwards? Bob Keelaghan?

Poor guesses, I think... any idea what decade we're looking for?
posted by Leon at 8:43 PM on May 10, 2016


Blaze Foley?
posted by Lirp at 8:48 PM on May 10, 2016


Chris Smither?
Greg Brown?
posted by otolith at 9:27 PM on May 10, 2016


Stuart A. Staples?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:26 PM on May 10, 2016


I'm not sure of the era or even the genre. It could be high lonesome Appalachian music from the 30s, or neofolk gothic acoustic from last month. It might be a song I heard as part of an indie suspense/horror movie or TV show, even, to add atmosphere to a scene. But I barely watch TV anymore, so it would have to be Dexter, True Blood, Six Feet Under, or other shows of the mid-2000s. There is a certain tone of authority and definitiveness in it that reminds me very much of Johnny Cash. I'm even wondering if it might be a Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen unplugged rarity or something.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2016


Bob Desper?
posted by quatsch at 3:19 PM on May 11, 2016


Sean Rowe?
posted by ApathyGirl at 4:10 PM on May 11, 2016


Willy deVille?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 12:20 AM on May 12, 2016


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