There's something to be said for musicians who adhere to strict musical traditions without coming off as crass copycats. Portland's hobo countryman Kory Quinn possesses the rich vocals and authentic songwriting necessary to carve out his own space in the Americana timeline. Tunes like "$2000 Song" and "You Don't Hold Me Down" capture the timeless spirit of an old soul who is no stranger to freight yards and jail cells, and the clever phrasing of "I'll butter you up like hot buttered rum and honey, baby I'll make you come/ to me" in "My Girl From Carolina" is sure to elicit a sly grin.
From the well-worn themes to the classic country instrumentation, nothing on Angels and Outlaws is groundbreaking. Repetitive lyrics and an unwavering tempo tend to flatten this brief EP. The entire play time of these five songs is just over 16 minutes. The album is too fleeting to become immersed in, but Quinn ties it all together at the end with the thoughtful love ballad "Annabelle Lee." Complete with yearning lap steel and harmonies sweeter than honey on sourdough biscuits, the song is a satisfying closer.
Kory Quinn and the Comrades play Zoo City Apparel Wed., Nov. 14, at 8 PM. $4. The band plays the Bitter Root Brewery in Hamilton Thu., Nov. 15, from 6 to 8:30 PM. Free.