There's a surprising element of early Michael Stanley, Dan Fogelberg, and the mellower side of the Hooters in this buncha musos who dropped into the studio and just went for it, overdubbing nada: no pitch adjustments, no gimcrackery, nothing but straight ahead country rock performed right then and there, 40 songs worth for three days, 14 of which appear here, every last one of them written by the player-singers.
It goes without saying, then, that the entire affair is fresh, clean, unassuming, and played from the heart, harmony vocals capping everything in wistful sonorities. As all the gents in the base quartet are guitarists, six friends pitched in for accompaniment, and the result is what we'd hoped Snail, Cowboy, Calico, and other past efforts would've turned out like, each composition foot-tappingly captivating (and Phil Hurley manages to toss in some mighty tasty leads).
Likewise, the lyrics can be clever (Good as Gone, etc.) while dusty, working class, gently rednecky, and all-American. Feels Like Home, my favorite track, is fierce and plaintive, a song of heartbreak made all the more jagged with Hurley's marvelously twisted middle eight. At various junctures, Louis Jay Myers tosses in a lilting pedal steel, and when the gents settle down into a ballad, as in Still Gonna Sing Your Song, a trademark keen periphery maintains itself, keeping any element of radio saccharinity well at bay. All in all, if this is what eventuates from studio spontaneity, I say toss the pencils and stave sheets out the window and keep seat-of-the-pantsing it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles