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Boomkat Product Review:
Shane Speal comes with a certain amount of press release-friendly credibility: the Pennsylvania bluesman sits in his trailer park dwelling turning out cigar box guitar dirges. On "Stealing The Fire", Speal sets about recording the works of Tim Renner as reinterpreted in a delta blues style, whilst taking a couple of breaks from Renner's dark folk back catalogue in order to lay down a distorted four track reading of Tara Van Flower's 'Whore' and Speal's own 'The Claw', a dextrous instrumental bluegrass rag. The label's very keen to assert that Speal's dilapidated, lo-fi recording scenario is no setup - not some sort of staged hipster artifice. That's never under dispute though: no pretender would go to the trouble of manufacturing a "mailbox dobro guitar". Speal is at his battered, broken best on tracks like 'A Dream Of You In The Garden Of Gethsemane' in which his fuzzy croak comes across like a particularly down-on-his-luck Tom Waits.