Various Artists

Americana Motel

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The roots rock orbit is how this CD collection revolves and there are some really solid tracks included. Others settle to the level of effective bar band music, which seems to be a watering hole for most of this type of material in one way or another. Arlington, VA's Karl Straub is present not only on a solo track but as leader of the Graverobbers, lending a nice vocal touch as well as some well-defined string bending. That is far from the end of his appearances on the disc, as he also shows up in the membership of some of the other featured bands, and authors several of the other songs. These contributions and the presence of several other musicians in different roles on the record help lend a sense of continuity to the proceedings, no small feat when it comes to a compilation. "My Sally" brings in the bluegrass pros including Mike Auldridge on dobro and Jim Gaudreau on mandolin. This is followed by a fine cover choice, none other than a Delmore Brothers tune, "Field Hand Man," which no doubt inspired the name of the band that recorded it, the Field Hands. Electric guitarist Bill Kirchen, slide guitarist Jeff Lang, and singers Maura Kennedy and Lisa Moscatiello are among the many talented performers featured. The Tom Clifford cover of an Evan Johns song is a nice touch. Everybody involved seems to join in for the finale.

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