Following hard on the heels of his fellow former Three Gut labelmates from the Constantines (Steve Lambke, Bry Webb and Will Kidman), Cuff the Duke's Wayne Petti delivers his own stripped-down solo offering. City Lights Align is simple, minimal songs-from-the-heart, open mic-friendly fare featuring Petti's reedy voice wrapped around acoustic strumming, a dollop of organ and some faraway beats now and again. It's a humble album that at its best sounds like a black-and-white line-drawing version of CTD's Life Stories For Minimum Wage through one speaker. (Up On The Hillside is a fine example.) Petti's rickety vocals are best suited to the Hank Williams-style weepers that originally turned him on to country music. The urgently percussive, plaintive cover of Jack Drag's The Only Only One works well, too. Overall, though, City Lights Align feels too slight - there are enough strong tracks here to fill an EP, but the mash-note ballads grow repetitive.
Petti joins Baby Eagle and Woolly Leaves for a set as part of Outside @ CMW Friday (March 9) at Lee's Palace.