If Bob Dylan were handing out goodies to trick-or-treaters, he might choose the new EP by Madison-via-Duluth singer-songwriter Mike Behrends, which comes encased in a flannel shirt pocket. The five songs inside are folky, frosty sidekicks for a fall breeze and a strong coffee.
The opening track, "Woodsman and the Seafarer," begins with a tearjerker melody that rings from the guitar as it reaches for the clouds. Like Greg Gaffin's solo work, Behrends' vocals are part rock 'n' roll, part Americana.
"I've been lonely all my life, and I swear I'm doing just fine," he sings on the country ramble of "Don't You Worry Bout Me." Then he dives to the bottom of a sad, sad sea on the third track, asking "Would you think it's weird if I grew out my beard and called myself your man?" The lyrics aren't quite Dylan-esque, but the chills they conjure are the same ones I had listening to Blood on the Tracks for the first time many autumns ago.