Although Trick Pony (the country-rock group that Keith Burns co-founded in 1996 and co-led for 12 years) had a Nashville address and recorded for major labels, they displayed a certain edginess that is missing from the slick corporate country that is so plentiful in Music City these days. Burns and his colleagues got a lot of inspiration from the outlaw country of the '60s and '70s (as in Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings), and that neo-traditionalist outlook generally served them well. But when Trick Pony called it quits in 2008, Burns' top musical priority became Burns & Poe (a male/female duo consisting of Burns and fellow singer/songwriter Michelle Poe). Clearly, Burns & Poe aren't trying to be a carbon copy of Trick Pony on this self-titled 2011 release, which doesn't have as many outlaw-isms as the albums of Burns' former band. Ranging from uptempo country-rock to more adult contemporary-ish material, the album has its generic moments. But when Burns & Poe hit the mark, the sparks fly. "Gone As All Get Out," "Don't Get No Better Than That," and "Big Truck" are among the infectious rockers; they may not be designed with country purists in mind, but they still have plenty of honky tonk appeal. And many of the poppier tracks are memorable as well, including "Macon, GA," "Life's Too Short," "It's Always a Woman," and "Second Chance." In country, it takes a lot of chemistry for male/female duets to be creatively successful, and while Burns & Poe's duets don't rise to the level of, say, George Jones & Tammy Wynette or Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, they have an appealing rapport nonetheless. Burns & Poe don't sound like they were thrown together by a corporate A&R department; they sound like they genuinely enjoy working together. And more often than not, their interactions yield enjoyable results.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2