Kings County Queens

Big Ideas

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When a band from Brooklyn comes on the scene playing country music of a decidedly traditional flavor -- complete with accordion, upright bass, and Cowboy Copas covers -- it is not unreasonable to be suspicious. Are these city slickers making fun? Or, only slightly less objectionable, are they fashionista dilettantes hopping what they think is the next retro-rock hipster gravy train? These are reasonable questions. But in this case, the answer would appear to be no. Kings County Queens are urbanites, all right, but the love they bring to this repertoire feels sincere, their stylistic command is genuine, and, most importantly, the music they make is lots of fun. The original songs are perfectly fine: "Virginia," with its Tom Waits-inspired vocal conceit and subtle backing harmonies, is among the best of them, as is a charming portrait of domestic disharmony called "Whatchamacallit." But none of them quite match the tentative sweetness of "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," and that Cowboy Copas cover is really a treat as well. Recommended.

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