Mail-order CatalogueSelected Artists Lonesome Shack

With a sound that is raw, expressive, and strange, Lonesome Shack’s music is part hill country blues, part urban folk rock, and owes as much to Alan Wilson’s Canned Heat as it does to Junior Kimbrough.

Formed in Seattle, and currently based in London, the trio is led by Ben Todd, a finger picking guitarist who has spent time living in a shack in the New Mexico desert. Alone in the Gila Wilderness, Ben learned how to play old blues and banjo tunes from vintage and traditional recordings.

“Desert Dreams” is a singular and poetic album of modern American music written at the tail end of a long, challenging winter in London. The result sounds like rock city meets backwoods boogie, desert blues meets jungle grooves.

Lonesome Shack is Ben Todd (guitar/voice), Kristian Garrard (drums), and Luke Bergman (bass).


The Seattle-bred, London-based trio give nods to to some iconic sources, but it's their atmosphereic ambiance that's key to their signature sound. It's weirdly retro, but daring enough to propel it forward to the present. – LIVING BLUES

While honouring the past, this record sounds as bright as a new penny. That about sums up the feel of this recording: planted in yesteryear but cultivated firmly in the now. – THE BLUEGRASS SITUATION

Ben Todd has developed an accomplished take on desert blues, strongly reminiscent of the mighty Junior Kimbrough, while laso referencing the sound of Tuareg desert-blues masters, Tinariwen. – VIVE LE ROCK (8/10 review)

I know it’s early but mark my words: come curtains on December, Lonesome Shack’s Desert Dreams – the London-by-way-of-Seattle trio’s latest full-length player – will still be creeping under the skin of critics’ lists as a contender for one of the best records of 2019.

The LP, an absolutely hypnotizing blend of Junior Kimbrough-style deep-blues, urban folk and Fahey-esque slow expansion, is just that goddamn good. – MUSIC TAP

Ultimately the power of this album is how the band takes well-known American genres and completely, yet respectfully, reworks them, making them into something almost completely different. One also cannot help but be impressed with the depth of the songwriting accomplished with such little instrumentation. The band has whittled songs down to their barest essence, very much in the spirit of the early blues. Desert Dreams is a wonderful fugue state of familiar-yet-unfamiliar songs. – GLIDE MAGAZINE

London by way of Seattle blues trio Lonesome Shack, cite everyone from Canned Heat to Lee “Scratch” Perry as influences. And those eclectic sonic connections come through loud and clear. – BLURT

There’s a lot in their music, – a pinch of folk – guitarist Ben Todd wisely spent time transposing old banjo tunes to his finger picking style – a sprinkle of country blues and a swirl of Canned Heat boogie. – AMERICANA UK

A potent blend of hypnotic Mississippi hill country blues and rangy folk-rock. – KEXP

At times moody while at others, insistently melodic, this is an album of great songs, genuine atmosphere. – FEAR AND LOATHING

Desert Dreams comes packed with the same amount of grit and charm that made More Primitive so enjoyable. – THE FIRE NOTE

They’re raw, extremely expressive, and a bit odd. – AMERICAN BLUES SCENE HERE

In the combination of song selection, in the clarity of this recording, and in the lyrics that seem to deal with heartbreak and loss, not deals with the devil, with the deep morass of a depression you learn to live with more than the blues that get put upon you—the reason this album is singularly great is that it is pure expression. That you can also kind of shake your ass to. - AMERICAN STANDARD TIME

Nothing soothes the soul like boogie music. – THE WASHINGTON POST

This, boys and girls, is a lesson in doing so much with so little … something Lonesome Shack are undisputed masters of. – JAMBANDS

They have devoted themselves to the study of true roots, and their music reflects that reverence for authenticity. – SEATTLE WEEKLY

Todd's droning blues figures display the influence of guitarists like Junior Kimbrough and John Lee Hooker, players whose playing could be described as raw, but display a powerful elegance. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES

While they round out the sound with light bass and a bare-bones rhythm, each song falls into a hypnotic trance of restless guitar vamps. - JESTER JAY

Poetically devoted to that fading Americana sound. – ARKANSAS TIMES

A great album that casts a long shadow. Superbly envisioned and painstakingly realized, it’s an intense work of focus and dedication. – RUST MAGAZINE

Easily one of the best albums of the year. - SECRETLY IMPORTANT

With finger-picked guitar and personal reflections on life, friends, and simplicity, the title refers to both the soul of the album as well as the creative process, which began in Todd’s remote shack in New Mexico. - RECORD DPT

For those who love the blues, this could well be the album of the year. - SUNDAY EXPRESS (UK)

Sound like a great swamp blues band from the Southern regions of the US. - POPMATTERS

This is a simple record, but in a deceptive way. On first spin, the minimal instrumentation and similarity in tone, tempo and volume among the songs made for a homogenous listen. Several spins later, I’d say it takes a deeper level of attention to really recognize/appreciate the unique elements of each song. – VINYL UNDER REVIEW

You'd swear that Lonesome Shack hail from the deepest Mississippi Delta. – SPIN

Raw, primal boogie and country blues. – BLURT

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