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THE WHISKEY GENTRY—DEAD RINGER (Pitch-a-Tent Records)

 

www.thewhiskeygentry.com

 

Atlanta Georgia based band, husband and wife duo Lauren Staley and Jason Morrow and band mates throw a wide enough loop to ensure their brand of Americana country music remains sounding fresh throughout.

On pushing the boundaries of the latter lead singer Staley gets to show off a number of sides to her vocal ability. For you have honky tonk barroom fare (“Dead Ringer”) and with banjo, fiddle and guitar licks going at it like crazy “Paris” is a big, fun-loving hoe-down number. When it comes to them covering a couple of golden oldies, Merle Haggard’s “Kern River” and Rosanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache” gain inclusion, while sounding as if bouncing along like a pickup truck off down a bumpy country road “Martha From Marfa” has a neat energy run through it. Likewise can be aid of go for broke title cut “Dead Ringer”; plied in fiddle, banjo, electric lead guitar and bustling rhythm section Staley enjoys fantastic support. While she knocked me sideways on “Looking For Trouble”, this as she produces a measure heartfelt country ballad. 

Ever mixing up the themes and tempo, and on occasion’s style of music The Whiskey Gentry set themselves aside from most other bands performing the genre. Never more so is the case than when they cook up a storm on piano, banjo, upright bass and mandolin propelled “Rock & Roll Band”. Staley’s vibrant tones supported by a band consisting of her husband Jason Morrow, guitar, vocals, Sam Griffin (bass), Chesley Lowe (banjo, accordion), Rurik Nunan (fiddle, vocals), Les Hall (piano, Hammond, wurlitzer, acoustic, additional electric guitar, percussion) and Michael Smith, these guys can really play. Getting back to the Haggard cover she does a mighty fine job, the intonation in her voice and the general arrangement is top drawer; likewise goes for her seamless interpretation of “Seven Year Ache”. Be sure to check out the band's website for other covers. 

Recorded together, live in the same room in Asheville, North Carolina the Les Hall produced Dead Ringer follows the band's full-length releases Please Make Welcome (2011) and Holly Grave (2013). One of the biggest songs is the vibrant “Drinking Again” (it’s the kind of song Kelly Willis might have recorded) and with the diversity of her stretched into slow, pure as Tennessee moonshine Staley nails the beautiful understated ballad “If You Were An Astronaut” in magnificent fashion (it is one of those songs to have the listener hang onto every note). A joy to behold that’s for sure! 

 

                                                           Maurice Hope 

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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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