There’s something about Oklahoma. Over the past several years, some of the strongest, Americana/country/folk albums have been put out by native Oakies like Parker Millsap, John Fulbright and The Turnpike Troubadours. Add M. Lockwood Porter to the list. A native of Oklahoma – since relocated to Northern California – he carries on the Red Dirt tradition beautifully with Communion In The Ashes, his third album and a triumph in diversity. Effortlessly slipping in and out of musical genres from modern folk (“Get Back To The Wild”) to updated spirituals (“I Will Do No More A-Prayin’”) to straight up rock (“Anything For Greed”), Porter delivers a remarkably impressive album. The obvious dual influences of Springsteen and Dylan are present here, especially in his lyrics (“Get Back To The Wild” is truly one of the best spiritual anthems to come out in years), but you can also glimpse nods to others like Bright Eyes and Kristofferson.
Across 11 tracks, there is not a single moment of filler or superfluous music here. Every lyric, every note works to deliver a remarkable album. Given the history of Oklahoma, there is a compelling argument to be made that the Sooner state could rightfully hijack Nashville’s claim to “Music City” or Austin’s brag of “Live Music Capitol of the World”.