Devil Stole the Moon
Bare Knuckle Recordings

Some of us adjective slingers will do almost anything to avoid dropping a dreaded cliché into our prose, but every now and then, you’ve just gotta go with what fits. Rest assured, however, that calling Michael O’Connor’s Devil Stole the Moon haunting is no mere play on the title — even if it is closing in on October, the witching month, and even if that title track, a swampy, tremolo-laden tune that feels like it was lifted from the mists of the Louisiana bayou, would fit perfectly in a True Blood episode.

A country troubadour with a rustic voice, a fondness for Neil Young and John Hiatt (exhibited on two Adam Carroll co-writes, “Raining on the Dark Side” and “Rough Side,” among others) and a sweet array of instrumental skills (guitars, pedal steel, harmonica, keyboards), O’Connor’s talents may take a few listens to absorb. Maybe he’ll snare you with the slow-simmering tale of “Poor Eddie,” or the electric chords of “Burn,” or maybe it’ll take till the gorgeous last track, “Homesick Boy.” But sooner or later, he’ll cast a spell, all right. — LYNNE MARGOLIS