Gene Pistilli

I Still Get Dressed on Sundays

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Gene Pistilli goes by the self-appointed nickname of "The Hoboken Saddletramp," and if that evokes an image of Frank Sinatra in chaps, well that's the point. A music industry fringe-dweller since his days in the folk-pop Cashman, Pistilli & West and as an original member of the Manhattan Transfer, it was his song "How the West Was Swung," originally recorded by Asleep at the Wheel (whose leader, Ray Benson, penned this album's liner notes), that set the stage for I Still Get Dressed on Sundays, a collection of suave Western swing. Not as deranged as Bob Wills or as edgy as Asleep, Pistilli brings a smooth, urbane attitude to a combination of covers and some terrific originals. Songs like the upbeat "Texas to a T" and the ballad "New Shadow" sound like lost standards but are newly composed. The witty lyrics of "Less of Me More Often" are straight out of the genre's heyday in the '30s yet mesh perfectly with covers of originals like Spade Cooley's "Oklahoma Stomp," Gene Autry's "Mexicali Rose," and Ernest Tubb's "Waltz Across Texas." Except for the crystal-clear sound quality, this could easily be mistaken for a decades-old Western swing album with its crying pedal steel guitars, sawing fiddles, honky tonk piano, and shuffling acoustic guitars. While that's certainly the intent, the new tunes show that Pistilli is more than an imitator of a dated music form. His respectful yet lively approach injects life into old songs and proves this sound can be reinvigorated, if not quite reinvented, with his recently penned material.

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