Amzie Adams, Hurricane Katrina (Independent)

Amzie Adams is most renowned as a visual artist, so it’s ironic that his homemade CD has such a slapdash graphic layout that the back cover credits are unreadable (perhaps intentionally, since they’re printed atop a photo of the artist waist-deep in flood water). He also mixes the CD so that the words can sometimes be hard to follow—which is odd, since it’s basically an album of accompanied poetry.

The good stuff, much of it related to Katrina, is upfront. While the title track is ultimately uplifting, it doesn’t shy away from the horror as many Katrina songs do: “You killed our mothers, drowned our sisters, we must live for them and rise again.” While Adams is hardly a trained singer, his weathered voice is the perfect vehicle for this, and the backup—with wailing female singers and violin—creates the appropriate atmosphere.

He’s equally on-target when addressing slavery’s legacy on “River of Blood,” and walking among the dead on the spooky “Streets of New Orleans.” I can live without the dub and instrumental tracks at disc’s end, but the haunting feel of the Katrina songs lingers.