Of his last album, 2012’s Gloryland, singer/songwriter Kevin Gordon said he likes “the unfinished ending — the story that just continues when the song’s over.” With his newest piece, a 12-song set called Long Gone Time, Gordon continues to construct his characters with an air of mystery, leaving the listener to imagine how, exactly, one came to “selling honey off the hood of your LTD.”
That’s the story of “All in the Mystery,” the blues-laden, honky tonk shuffle that kicks off the proceedings. There’s more dirty blues on the “Memphis in the Meantime” meets commander Cody gallop of “GTO” and the slow groove of “Letter to Shreveport,” wherein Gordon paints pictures of “coffee in a tin percolator,” “dry biscuits on the stove,” and “Johnny Horton on the radio.” With the fourth cut of the festivities, Gordon goes folkie with the waltzy “Walking on the Levee,” a beautiful sketch where “water's moving fast (and) streets are slow.” It’s not often one hears Gethsemane and Lawrence Welk name-dropped in the same song, but Gordon gets them both down on paper on the unnerving “Shotgun Behind the Door.” The simple openness of “Crowville” and “Goodnight Brownie Ford” embody the lyrical essence of the Deep South, narratives that speak to the textures of rural America, both nature made and human born. “Immigrant,” with its sparse bass drum thump and guitar chime, and the similarly slender “Cajun with a K” close the record covered in muddy Mississippi silt.
Gordon’s gift for portraying the poetic imagery of the American South is well-documented on his previous records. This one expands his repertoire with equal, if not greater, mastery.