IN THE past, veteran Canadian musician Dave McLean has always seemed most comfortable delivering a distinctively rough-hewn version of the blues that he loves and his previous well-received albums have been dominated by covers of songs penned by his musical heroes such as Robert Johnson and Elmore James.

But Pocket Full Of Nothin’ signals something of a diversion from this well-trodden musical path. McLean has decided to showcase his own songwriting talents for the first time on a record, alongside some typically gritty revamps of Gregg Allman’s Midnight Rider and JB Lenoir’s Voodoo Music.

The results should be required listening for roots-music devotees everywhere, providing a near-perfect introduction to the sound of a man whose gloriously lived-in vocals were once fairly accurately likened to “an ice truck with a busted axle.”