With his 1999 debut, Andy Scheinman brings the lyrical seriousness and musical integrity of folk music to the Nashville country music scene. Yes, Scheinman's spent some time listening to Johnny Cash and company. Pedal steel guitars, fiddles, rumbling bass, and juicy Hammond B-3 chords are brought to bear upon cryin'-in-yer-beer bad ole days tales. There are plenty of lines like "drinkin' hard in smoky bars is just part of my past" and "once had a wife and kid, she didn't see things the way he did." But these songs often have the acidic bite of Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello. There's also a fair amount of folky fingerpicking to balance the twang (see especially the excellent ballad "Conversation"), and the arrangements are always detailed and effective. Both as a singer and as a songwriter, Scheinman recalls another skinny fly-haired redhead from the south, Bill Mallonee of the Vigilantes of Love. The two share a slightly Dylanesque rasp and drawl and an interest in alternative roots tunes with themes of redemption and reconciliation amidst the hard times. The depression here is a little more circumspect than on your average commercial country effort. This is a record about making amends. It should have a broader appeal than many of the chicks'n'trucks records that come out of Nashville.
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AllMusic Review by Evan Cater