As the frontman for House Of Pain, Everlast rose to stardom on the strength of the irrepressibly catchy hit single "Jump Around" in 1992. Now, having survived heart surgery, unsuccessful follow-up albums, and the break-up of his crew in 1996, Everlast has turned inward. On Whitey Ford Sings The Blues, he employs live instrumentation, a gambit that helped propel MC Hammer's phenomenally successful multi-platinum comeback, and that will no doubt help propel Vanilla Ice's forthcoming album to the top of the charts. Aside from "Hot To Death," an uninspired speed-metal dirge that sounds like a Body Count outtake, the songs in which Everlast tries out his new hardcore-troubadour persona are pleasant, socially conscious folk-rockers. They're well-intentioned but more than a tad simplistic, though Everlast does take a strong anti-poverty, anti-apathy stance on "Ends" and "What It's Like." As a songwriter, Everlast isn't going to make anyone forget Leonard Cohen, and as a guitarist, he's unlikely to inspire any "Everlast is God" graffiti. For an album from the man who brought Irish pride to rap music, inspiring a nation of working-class white hooligans to take up rapping, Everlast's latest is surprisingly short on both shamrocks and shenanigans. Having abandoned his moronic but fun persona, he showcases a more thoughtful, mature Everlast, an Everlast who mourns failed relationships and ponders his own mortality. Unfortunately, his rapping is as unremarkable as ever, and he's hampered by weak, monotonous beats supplied by a stable of hacks. While it's an ambitious, well-intentioned album, Blues' morbid, joyless tone will probably not halt Everlast's descent into obscurity.