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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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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