Cross Canadian Ragweed


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Oklahoma roots rock quartet Cross Canadian Ragweed's streamlined blend of alternative country and gritty rock & roll aims to appeal to both cowboy and trucker hats, something few bands besides the Kings of Leon have pulled off with any success. On their fifth studio album (their third for Universal South), the band pays homage to everything from cigarettes and Wild Turkey to heartache and late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell without a hint of pretense, relying on spot-on guitar licks, an airtight rhythm section, and the kind of impeccable production that only a major label can procure. Lead-off track "Fightin' For" sounds like a classic rock radio staple waiting to happen, replete with a riff straight out of pre-American Fool John Cougar-land. It's a great litmus test for first-time listeners, as the rest of Garage follows its lead with a combination of tight, melodic boot-stompers and wistful, mid-tempo laments that always maintain a willful sense blend of humble authority and mischief -- the latter is dutifully represented on the sly closer, "Bad Habit." Fans who were enamored with last year's Soul Gravy will find little to complain about here, while those looking to join the party will know from the very first note whether or not they want to stay and get wasted.

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