Eleutheros! sounds to me like the musical soundtrack to a mash-up of Baz Luhrmann’s visual take on The Great Gatsby and a hobo camp. The stripped-down rural doom of Hearne’s Musa Dagh compositions like “Death You’re So Cold,” “God Will Strike Me Down” and “The Legend of the Gray Wolf Girl,” is, on Eleutheros!, pumped up with jazzy rhythms and instrumentation that swing from toe-tappers to walls of reed-instrument squeal. Hearne’s stern baritone is ever-present, spinning his tales of gloom and woe in, at times, almost incongruous surroundings. That’s what I find so compelling: the image of roadside storytelling polished up and put on stage. It all sounds like a great time, until you look just a little deeper to the darker core.
Warren Jackson Hearne plays the VFW Fri., Nov. 22, at 10 PM with Birds Mile Home, The Whiskey Hooves and Jacob Osborne and the Broken Thistle Band. $5.