Undeniably talented singer shines brightest when he holds it back a little.
Curtis Salgado has a soulful voice and that's the truth. On his latest full-length from Alligator, Soul Shot, he wails and moans and howls through numerous convincing permutations of A Guy Who Is Feeling Things Really Strongly. Album opener "What You Gonna Do?" channels some righteous blue-eyed indignation a la Delbert McClinton, complete with burbling organ and snappy guitar, while "Love Comfort Zone" slows the tempo and adds horns while shifting to a more upbeat mood. Standout track "She Didn't Cut Me Loose" benefits from nice harmonica moments and a healthy dose of rueful wistfulness in place of Salgado's over-the-top hollering. The album maintains its razor-sharp musicality throughout, even if some of the emotive singing borders on the histrionic (I'm looking at you, "Let Me Make Love to You"). In fairness to Salgado, he is plowing an furrow -- 1960s and '70s soul -- in which overwrought emotionality is pretty much par for the course. It's when he dials back a bit, though, as on "She Didn't Cut Me Loose" and "He Played His Harmonica", that Salgado shines brightest. Sometimes, less really is more.