Florida's rock'n'roll Zelig steps out of the shadows

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Ronny Elliott – Hep

Elliott has walked with the greats, from Elvis to Hendrix, in a chequered career as sideman and garage band leader. Hep, though? his seventh solo album?confirms his own strain of illusionless, desolate black humour and backwater regret. The pedal-steel-laced music is spare, artful rock’n’roll, and Elliott’s mordant voice sometimes yelps into an Orbison shiver. But it’s his careful, implacable stories of beaten but unbowed losers that makes this connect: trawling through Tampa for temporary thrills or staring at their TVs, searching for an exit, yet stuck in “Nowhereville”.