French Quarter Moon

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Kicking off with the rousing abandon of "She's a Wild One" (with which Faith Hill would have a hit just a year later), Evangeline's French Quarter Moon finds the combo mixing some straight-ahead country into their tried and true mixture of ballads and the bayou. Two lower key numbers transpire before the Cajun sound is even uncorked. But when "Let's Go Spend Your Money" finally comes out of the kitchen, it steams with goofily great lyrics -- "mine's already spent" -- and a rollicking accordion line. Meanwhile, "French Quarter Moon" channels the same Gulf Coast worldliness into sultry balladry lit by a low-lying moon. However, despite these cuts and the set's title, the album does branch further into pop-country than previously seen. Luckily, the straightforward country material is strengthened by the band's typically rock-solid vocal performances. Sharon Leger, in particular, is a delight. She tears into the bluesy "Delta Run," only to let her voice crack plaintively on the velvet gift shop fantasy "Elvis of the Night." Existing Evangeline fans are sure to be happy with the new material, while the group's embrace of a more conventional country sound (albeit with their trademark, bayou-bred singing and playing) should help it gain even more of a following.

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