Roger Wallace

The Lowdown

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Listening to the opening notes of Roger Wallace's The Lowdown creates something of a time warp. The music sounds like country formed in the tradition of George Jones and Merle Haggard, and one could easily imagine the title track fitting between "Bartender's Blues" and "The Fightin' Side of Me." But the album's credits, along with the clean, bright production, assures the listener that The Lowdown was cut in an up-to-date studio in 2002. On his third album, Wallace and his fellow travelers take a trip back to the 1950s and 1960s to explore a number of country styles. While the lonesome steel guitar of "What Did I Do (The Teardrop Song)" reminds one of a sad Hank Williams tune, "You're a Heavenly Thing" washes the blues away with a bit of Western swing. This eclectic approach keeps The Lowdown from sounding like another retro one-note band trying to fit in with the current alternative country scene. Wallace is a versatile vocalist, offering a resonant baritone on the title cut and smoothing things out a bit for the swinging "Me and Abalina Jane." Wallace's band also sounds great, with guitarist Jim Stringer and steel player Marty Muse spicing up the proceedings. A number of guests also weigh in, with Toni Price joining Wallace on "Blow Wind Blow" and guitarist Dave Biller cutting loose on "Stranger Pickin'." Roger Wallace may don the trademark hat of the Nashville cowboy, but don't be deceived: The Lowdown has much more to offer than the average album from the average hat act.

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