Halos and Good Buys

The Blue Dogs

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Halos and Good Buys Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

The Blue Dogs have been playing together for ten years plus, and on Halos and Good Buys, it shows. Lead vocalist Bobby Houck and guitarist Hank Futch have concocted a fine batch of songs, and guitarist David Stewart, drummer Greg Walker, and mandolinist Daren Shumaker have given them a nice country-rock makeover. The opener, "What's Wrong With Love Songs," and the follow-up, "Wrong Love at the Right Time," would've been called Southern rock at one time, but now fall under the no depression banner. Whatever one calls it, the Blue Dogs have a definite Southern flavor, with twangy vocals and guitar work that echo bands from the Outlaws to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band, while wearing a number of influences on their sleeves, never sound derivative. "Janie and Me" has a gentle quality, highlighted by acoustic guitar, a warm vocal, and some nice vocal accompaniment, while "Half of My Mistakes" has a thoughtful, self-reflective lyric. An underlying theme of the choices people make -- especially when it comes to love -- runs through Halos and Good Buys, but even at their most thoughtful, the Blue Dogs never forget the importance of a catchy chorus and the bite of an electric guitar. The no depression crowd will appreciate Halos and Good Buys, but so will fans of classic rock.

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