paying attention. But Rossiter's singing and songwriting are at Hoodang's center. If you like the parade of ornery hard-luck characters who have wound their way through Steve Earle's albums, or the tough, edgy romantic characterizations of the grassroots Ontario iconoclast Fred Eaglesmith, be aware that there's a local figure who can play in their league. And he's got a dry leather strap of a voice to go with his songs.
Rossiter is a storyteller first and foremost. He has a few honky-tonk tunes like the uptempo-swing "Jump Start My Heart," but even these seem to have a tale of woe lurking in the background ("Feel like I'm ready for the scrap heap/Ain't nothin' much to salvage anyway"). More often he sketches an individual in quite a bit of detail, often inhabiting the subject in first person. "Memory Lapse" is about a prisoner who has committed a terrible crime while so drunk that "even if you'd asked me, I couldn't've told you my name," and:
| It makes my blood run cold |
As the Red River in December
To think I'm servin' time
For a crime I don't remember.