Dennis Callaci & Simon Joyner

Throughout Simon Joyner’s and Dennis Callaci’s respective bodies of work, both artists have tapped into secret histories of post-Dylan stomp and balladry while brandishing their own distinct personalities. Joyner’s slow and sparse narratives and Callaci’s homespun rattle with Refrigerator have found common ground under the flag of lumbering loneliness. Stranger Blues weaves the two voices into one cohesive whole. The recording is a terse, five-song collaboration that finds both artists alternately contributing to each other’s songs.

Their approach is complementary to the point that their signature sounds bleed into each other. Callaci’s nasal crooning in “Third Date with Your Fucked Up Father” and Joyner’s breezy baritone in “Death of a Lady” sound very much the same.

For Joyner, Stranger Blues marks a return to the granular sound of his earlier releases, following the artistic detour of his last album, the stark and crystalline Lost with the Lights On (Jagjaguwar). Slow and shattered eloquence hangs heavy in the unhurried acoustic strumming and Joyner’s lingering voice. Fittingly, the Callaci-penned numbers follow Joyner’s lead on songs such as “A Thousand and One More.”

“Sail Away” closes Stranger Blues, offering more proof of how Joyner and Callaci are kindred spirits.