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CD Review | AMERICANA

Sean Rowe, ‘The Salesman and the Shark’

I made this claim last year, and I’ll make it again: Sean Rowe is the most evocative singer-songwriter you’re probably not listening to. He’s been at his craft for a decade, but Anti- Records gave him a broader base last year when it rereleased his self-issued sophomore album, “Magic.” “The Salesman and the Shark” is its follow-up, and everything about it presents Rowe’s outsize talent in full splendor. The choruses are meatier, the songwriting more assured, and the arrangements more complex. Blessed with a bottomless baritone, Rowe carries the weight of the world in these tales of redemption and humanity. He’s in elegiac mode on “Bring Back the Night,” whose dusky tones conjure Leonard Cohen. “Joe’s Cult” has some of Tom Waits’s brand of junkyard blues, while “The Lonely Maze” burns with a celestial glow. Occasionally, the production overwhelms Rowe with bombast (“Horses”); all the drama he needs is in that resonant voice. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “The Lonely Maze”

Sean Rowe performs at the Middle East Upstairs on Sept. 16.

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