Long Time Between Drinks — Mark Appleford’s second solo outing — isn’t paving new ground or pushing any boundaries, but for fans of gritty blues, the frequent downtown performer has crafted a heartfelt full-length that should be more than adequate to satisfy an appetite for roadhouse-worthy rock n’ roll.
Appleford seems most at home alongside his raspy harmonica on rowdy blues romps like “Last Look,” “Overhead Low” and “Little Drunken Ghost,” but his gravely voice is almost equally fitting for the dreamy verses of “82 Days” and “Lady of Second Chances.” Surprisingly though, it’s somewhere in between where Long Time Between Drinks really begins to shine. On subdued, breezy rock tunes like “Hello Welcome” and “Easy Chair,” Appleford’s voice takes on a Tom Petty meets Jeff Tweedy tone that evokes a warm Americana feel which is noticeably absent thereafter. Similarly, the noodling lead guitar — which manages to remain tastefully prevalent throughout the verse of the latter track — scarcely makes another appearance on the album. All in all, Long Time Between Drinks isn’t going to change your life, but the album’s high points certainly justify a giving it a listen.