Mark Germino & The Sluggers

Rank & File

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More proof that there are still plenty of decent writers in Nashville, ones who can write songs that tell a story and have some meat to them. Germino's clever songs have popped up on other artist's records, including Confederate Railroad. But Germino is a poet at heart, and this record is far from a commercial country album. Rather, Rank & File is a folk-oriented record, giving Germino the room to stretch with literary detail. Armed with a gravelly voice, and working within an acoustic setting, he falls somewhere between John Prine and Steve Earle; Germino's songs are also similar to both of these artists in the way he can weave a yarn, bringing characters to life through his biting wit and uncompromising sincerity. There's plenty of humor, but by no means is it all lighter fare; there are also serious songs, and they cut deep.

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