A wonderful, but mostly overlooked debut from this talented native-New York singer and songwriter. The album's leadoff track, "Bayou Girl," garnered some airplay, but unfortunately did very little to gain Woodruff any substantial audience in country music. Woodruff's songs deal with typical country music subject matter: failed romance, broken dreams, and more. But what makes these stories and characters so believable is the yearning and a hint of vulnerability in which Woodruff emotes, both in his lyrics and vocal delivery. Whether it's a musician's dreams worn down by rejection ("Hard Liqour, Cold Women, Warm Beer") or the trapped feeling of becoming a father too soon ("Poisoned at the Well"), Woodruff's words paint unforgettable pictures of everyday longing and frustration. To convey a feeling, he's even willing to leave clever wordplay and convention at the door and simply wear his heart on his sleeve. Musically, Dreams and Saturday Nights is roots country with sharp rock & roll sensibility; the lack of contemporary-Nashville production slickness is refreshing. The legendary James Burton plays lead guitar on almost every cut and an album highlight is a duet with Emmylou Harris on the lonesome ballad "I'm the Train."
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AllMusic Review by Jack Leaver