As befits a Mississippi soul-bluesman who's dabbled in country and knows his gospel, this smooth-voiced songwriter's forte is ballads -- often ones where he ponders long-term unemployment or resigns himself to playing the cuckold. The Goodwill store and coupons help; the butcher's meat doesn't. He offers advice to suicidal buddies and consoles a lady married to a philandering pastor. In a comedic funk number done two ways, he mimics somebody's mama and a redneck cop, and starts growling "Brick House." But when he gets so down-and-out he begs to shine your shoes, his high notes echo Sam Cooke's.