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J Scott Franklin 

Chain of Words (Infinite Number of Sounds)

Earlier this year, J Scott Franklin was laid off from his day job as a Cleveland schoolteacher. The poet and songwriter has since sold all his belongings and moved into his car for a 96-day tour of America.

Franklin's debut explains the wanderlust. "It is my belief that the things we daydream are the things we were actually meant to do in life," he writes in the liner notes to Chain of Words. Sometimes reciting his prose in a voice as dry as his wit, sometimes singing in a plaintive mumble, Franklin speaks of faith and yearning, backed by banjo, trumpet, lap steel, and acoustic guitar. Beatmaker Joe Minadeo (Racermason, Low in the Sky) offers touches of stark programming, adding still more nuance to an album whose sound is as broad as Franklin's itinerary.

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