A combination of Lynyrd Skynrd, Snail, Cowboy, early Le Roux, and Alabama, maybe even a bit of Atlanta Rhythm Section and the Hooters, the Reluctant Saints tend to a blend of several mainstream sounds and are a country version of arena rock. You might even call them country rock's Loverboy. There are several outstanding tracks on Long Drive, of which Descending is my favorite, a rockingly romantic driving track of intelligent songsmithery mindful of the chart side of Mistress, Nowherefast, and a several other ensembles who knew how to craft winners but did so nowhere near plentifully enough each time out to guarantee survival. The Reluctant Saints have 'em beat in that respect but perhaps not fully enough to escape the odds, especially in really derivative ballads like May There be a Road, an absolute plodder until it revs up a bit halfway through.
The first four cuts here will not win anyone's heart, but then the rootsy blueser Song to Remember kicks in, and the whole CD lifts significantly (someone shoulda slotted the track roster a lot differently), and Long Drive pretty much remains in that altitude 'til the end, with a couple of dips along the way. Thus, I cannot say that this is a solid release, but where it shines, it does so with a great deal of integrity and heart.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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