- If Love is a Crime
- Lousy Husband (But a Real Good Dad)
- Why Does It Rain?
- Can't Stand the Crook
- Everything Will Be Alright
- Old Feeling
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The age-old question of whether a white man can play the blues may have been settled long since, but the case of Todd Sharpville presents a variation on it: can a titled member of the British aristocracy play the blues? Sharpville's album Porchlight must be the first blues record ever dedicated to a viscount, the artist's father, who died in 2009 and who also is paid tribute in the album-closing title song ballad. For the most part, Sharpville's pedigree does not come up in the songs on the album, all of them originals except for a cover of Shel Silverstein's humorous lament of an abusive spouse, "If That Ain't Love What Is?" But Sharpville does occasionally delve into subject matter unusual for a bluesman. "Lousy Husband (But a Real Good Dad)" seems to be an autobiographical account from a man who has fought a lengthy battle with an ex-spouse over visitation rights to his children. And "Can't Stand the Crook" (set to a Howlin' Wolf-style barn-burning arrangement) is an evisceration of the administration of George W. Bush. For the most part, however, Sharpville sticks to blues essentials for subject matter, which is to say, the vicissitudes of romantic love. Those are problems that afflict the rich and poor alike. The guitarist seems intent on exploring a variety of styles of blues from New Orleans second line ("Everything Will Be Alright") to horn-inflected R&B ("Whole Lotta Lady"). That ambition leads to what may be another implied sense of privilege. The album runs just over 80 minutes, so that it has had to be spread across two CDs. Most other artists would have deleted a song and fit the contents onto a less-expensive single disc, but such a fan-friendly idea doesn't seem to have occurred to the musician.
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