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Published: Thursday, 8/22/2013

Road worn and ragged



Jeff Jensen (Swingsuit Records)

Jeff Jensen is one of the better bluesy rock songwriter-guitarists you've probably never heard about, even though he released well-received albums in 2007 and 2009.

A former Portland, Ore. resident, Jensen relocated to Memphis two years ago. On this disc, he jams along on a road-weary, wiser-for-the-years collection that is a mix of blues, soul, West coast swing, and Americana with a hint of Memphis Beale Street rockin'.

He offers anything from fulfilling, sweat-drenched solos in his fine opening number, "Brunette Woman," to a playful autobiographical ditty, "Good Bye, Portland," co-written by Jensen and the Rev. Billy Wirtz. Jensen's vocals can be inconsistent and choppy at times.

He covers Tom Waits' "Heart Attack and Vine" - not brilliantly, but well enough to pass the test - and has a Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters tune to go along with his originals. Despite a few weak spots, Jensen shows he's got what it takes, whether it's through high-energy guitar solos or stepping back with a moving, emotional song, such as "River Runs Dry."

Contact Tom Henry at: thenry@theblade.com or 419-724-6079.

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