The strength of originals like the wistful “Nothing Belongs to Me” and the rambunctious, blues-fueled “Big Black Car” lies in Brendan Hogan’s chiseled, unhurried performing style and his direct manner of storytelling. The Cambridge songwriter allows each sculpted note of his acoustic guitar to assume its correct emotional weight, and his lightly dusty voice resonates with a Northeastern twang mellowed by a sense of experience that extends well beyond his years and into the roots of his inspirations.
Those include Leadbelly, whose “Goodnight Irene” is potent fodder for Hogan’s worldly delivery, and Porter Wagoner, who’s represented here by a particularly bittersweet “Green, Green Grass of Home.” But Dylan, Robert Johnson, and the Band are also within his distinctly American scope, and so are the sounds of the open prairie and the dark Maine woods.
Hogan is best known locally as host of the Blues on WGBH radio show, but this debut transcends genre and marks the arrival of a distinctive new musical voice.
BRENDAN HOGAN | Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St, Somerville | October 29 at 8 pm | 617.776.2004 orwww.johnnyds.com | Also Tuesdays in November at Toad | 1912 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 10 pm | free | 617.497.4050 orwww.toadcambridge.com