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Roy Book Binder stands out among acoustic blues musicians with his adept finger-picking and deadpan vocals. What he lacks in vocal range he more than makes up for with his wry humor and dry wit. Book Binder balances blues and hillbilly influences so that he ends up sounding like himself rather than like a white guy trying to sound like a dead black guy. Polk City Ramble, his fourth album for Rounder, offers 16 tracks with Book Binder either playing solo guitar or being supported by a trio similar to the group backing him on The Hillbilly Blues Cats. The new record represents a stylistic continuation of Book Binder’s earlier workwhich should come as no surprise, because stylistic departures are pretty rare for revivalist performers. Among the album’s highlights is a cover of Jason Wilbur’s “Ballad of Amazing Grace and Side Show Dan,” the story of romance and intrigue among sideshow freaks and carnies. The title track, an original instrumental, showcases the subtlety of Book Binder’s solo guitar work in a relaxed piece with a distinct back-porch feel. Book Binder’s strongest performance is on his cover of Jimmy Murphy’s hillbilly gospel classic, “Electricity,” which contains one of my favorite nuggets of spiritual wisdom: “Some people don’t believe in religion/They think it’s all a fake/But it’s as real, good people/As eatin’ a doggone T-bone steak.” The album is rounded out with tasteful interpretations of songs by the Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Blake, and Blind Boy Fuller.Matt Watson