Duane Jarvis

Far from Perfect

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Far From Perfect, the self-deprecating title of Duane Jarvis' second album, perfectly suits the roots rocker's unassuming musical style. Jarvis doesn't shoot for flash or fireworks; he instead mines a down-to-earth vein of rock that combines elements of '60s rock & roll, juke joint country, and a little bit of soul. Like a countrified Marshall Crenshaw, Jarvis exhibits the skills of a master craftsman, expertly constructing sturdy tunes with the right amount of hooks, heart, and humor. Songs like the title track and "A Girl That's Hip" deliver a gritty punch that sticks with you. The Crenshaw-esque "Mr. Dependability" nicely wraps up its romanticism in a light coat of twang, while "I'm Not Gonna Let You Break My Heart" harks back to the cow-pop sounds of Rank & File and Beat Rodeo. Good-natured numbers "Cocktail Napkins" and "Hat Check Girl," however, reinforce what Jarvis' natural musical environment is -- the barroom. Good old-fashioned bar rock often goes underappreciated, but when it's done as well as it is on this album, it shouldn't go unnoticed. The musicianship here is everything that is should be -- crisp but a little ragged. Jarvis' guitar work, at times, recalls a more restrained Keith Richards, and he is aided here by such folks as former 20/20 frontman and Nashville resident Steve Allen and E Streeter Garry Tallent, who also was one of the disc's producers. Far From Perfect ultimately proves to be a deceptive title, as it is far from the truth. Although this album doesn't reinvent the wheel, Jarvis has, in his own modest way, created a perfect little roots rock gem.

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