There’s a real interest in musical archives these days, the rise of streaming has made more available and the curious can, if they so desire, lose themselves for days and more finding stuff they never knew existed.

To be truthful, that’s what, to all intents and purposes, “Yellow Peril” appeared to be, some album from a long-lost troubadour, one that has been unearthed by a musicologist.

32 minutes of a man, his thoughts, and his guitar (preferably in a battered old case) stopping off on the back roads and delivering his songs like a Woody Guthrie type.

It’s all those things, but it’s more. And it’s more because Nat Myers, an American of Korean descent, who grew up in West Tennessee and then Northern Kentucky where as a teenager he spent his days skateboarding and listening to pop-punk and hardcore, but who loved poetry.

And he was enchanted, as I have been ever since reading Grapes Of Wrath, with the heartland, the dustbowl, and the back roads.

The difference between me and Myers is simple: he’s got the talent to pull it off.

The title track, with its deliberately provocative title, was written as a rebuke to those who blame those of South Asian descent for the Covid-19 pandemic (“I wanted to raise my people up,” he said) but its beauty is – like every other song here – in its subtlety.

Recorded in Nashville with Dan Auerbach, there’s a clear lineage to the greats but with a fresh modern hustle.

“75-71” sounds like it’s relaxed as a summer breeze, and even the language used in the lyrics on work like “Trixin'” is seemingly belonging to a different time.

The guitar playing, too, is perfect. “Ramble No More” also gives room to a voice that is so suited to the music.

Written in Auerbach’s house seems to have agreed with Myers and maybe the Ghosts in the stonework helped with “Duck N Dodge” and the more swampy “Roscoe,” while it’s difficult to believe that “Misbehavin’ Mama” (which seems to channel a Chris Whitley vibe) were recorded in 2023.

Indeed we can only hope that the likes of “Heart Like A Scroll” were recorded live in one take – they sound so spontaneous – and even when things get darker as on “Undertaker Blues,” there’s a rugged beauty.

And so lovely does “Pray For Rain” sound, so happy is it and so timeless is its sound that you only wish the Coen Brothers make another “O Brother Where Art Thou?” film and make Nat Myers a millionaire by using it as the theme.

That’s the future, the present is this, and as steeped in the past as it is, “Yellow Peril” shines with a truly golden hue.

Rating: 9/10

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