Crooked County

Drunkard's Lament

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Drunkard's Lament Review

by Matt Fink

Cutting its own brand of country-rock, largely without the rock, this second offering from Crooked Country is short on alternative country stereotypes and long on down-home sincerity. While the band still manages to incorporate the normal roll call of country songwriting topics, with small towns, trains, and bars coloring the standard variation of drinking, cheating, and gambling themes, its sound remains firmly in the honky tonk. Guitar and mandolinist Toby Purnell's vocals, halfway between Ronnie Van Zant and Travis Tritt, are matched perfectly with multi-instrumentalist Merrie Sloan, together bleeding blue-collar earnestness but never descending into redneck redundancy. In what is quickly becoming recognizable as the Rustic Records sound by virtue of its warm no-frills production, tasteful fiddles, bluesy harmonicas, and gorgeous pedal steel mingle with the usual din of sharp electric guitar licks, shuffling drums, and inspired mandolin attacks. Not an overly innovative country album, Drunkard's Lament doesn't present a band that presumes they're doing anything to restore lost legacies, just making honest-to-goodness county for the discriminating traditionalist. In the end, this brand of country is not very crooked at all.

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