The Deep Vibration

Veracruz

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If you want to embrace a roots-friendly country rock sound that harkens back to the 1970s, you can't fault the Deep Vibration for striving to get the details right. Based out of Nashville, the Deep Vibration's debut EP Veracruz includes some impressive and appropriate guests -- Al Perkins, who's played pedal steel with everyone from Gram Parsons to Dwight Yoakam, adds his licks to two songs, while legendary songwriter and keyboard man Spooner Oldham tickles the ivories on four cuts, and Gillian Welch contributes lovely harmonies to the closer, "Tennessee Rose." With Niko Bolas behind the board, is it any wonder that Veracruz's best moments sound like excerpts from some lost Neil Young album (dig that noisy guitar solo on the ride-out of "Third Day of July")? Or maybe some Dixie-fried Rolling Stones demos ("Oklahoma City Woman Blues" suggests these guys have spent a lot of time studying Exile on Main St.)? There's no question that the Deep Vibration have carefully listened and learned, but while they've got the moves of their key influences down pat, they haven't figured out how to write songs nearly as compelling as any of the folks they love, and that's their greatest stumbling block. The five songs on Veracruz show promise and no small amount of skill, but until the Deep Vibration develop a musical personality of their own and songwriting chops to go with them, they're going to have to settle for being a '70s tribute band whose songs seem curiously familiar and unfamiliar at once.

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