SOUND BITES: Album Review
Wednesday April 15 1:13 PM EDT
By Gary Graff

Chris Whitley "Dirt Floor"
(Messenger Records) 4 stars

One of the most engaging records of the year so far is also one of
the simplest. On his fourth album, tragically underappreciated
troubadour Chris Whitley takes his career full circle -- and then
some -- by stepping away from the electric rock orientation of his
last couple of albums and stripping things down to just his voice, 
guitar, banjo and foot stomping on the floor to keep the beat, a 
venture even more sparse than his rootsy 1991 debut, "Living With 
the Law." Dealing in philosophy more than narration, Whitley paints
vivid word pictures, his voice rising and falling with the melodic 
cadence dictated by each of the nine songs. A riveting, intimate