Kevin Haugh has a story that’s so rich it sounds made up. Tall and rangy and missing a few teeth, he’s a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran who grew up in Boston and learned to play guitar while locked up in prison. He served time for robbing banks, and when he was released he turned his attention to songwriting.
His debut, “Straight In,” is the second release on Mountain of Leopards, a new indie label that Eli Schwartz launched out of his Jamaica Plain home. It’s a loose ramble through horn-stoked rock, barroom blues, and raucous country, with Schwartz producing and Haugh backed by a local band dubbed Security Threat Group.
In a weary but tender voice, Haugh explores the vagaries of love. On “Only Think of You (When I Drink),” he sings, “I don’t think of you when the days grow long / Or between dusk and dawn / Or about your crown of thorns / I don’t think about why you’re gone.”
“I almost cried when I first heard him perform that song,” Schwartz says, and you can understand why. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Only Think of You (When I Drink)”