Things completely come together, though, on "Old Mister Drifter," a charming song with the best hook on the record to punctuate a great chorus: "I'm clutching on for dear life/But there's just so many places to fall off" (never mind the subject-verb agreement there). There's more reverb on Basiner's vocals to warm things up, with plenty of harmonica to augment the effect, and Patterson does particularly good work here with a crystalline high harmony.

The finish, too, is ambitious, with Martelle leading a spacey excursion that bassist Dave Patterson follows nicely, resulting in a cool alternative to the '70s-style fade out.

With stories like this one that travel the United States, and songwriting that travels the breadth of American roots (with some Celtic thrown in for the bonus track "Fisherman"), there should be enough to keep most listeners paying attention past the first listen. The end result may be, though, that they just decide they ought to see This Way live more often.

THE STORY OF SIMON PURE | Released by This Way | with Adam Ezra Group | at the Empire, in Portland | Sep 28 |

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