Moonlight Revival

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Ponderosa are a new band, but not a band feeling its way to a mature sound and style -- Ponderosa are already fully developed on Moonlight Revival, the group’s debut album on New West Records. Sounding at times like a blend of the Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Tom Petty, all with just a dash of country tossed in, this Atlanta-based band delivers first-rate songs with verve, joy, energy, and attitude, due in no small part to lead singer Kalen Nash's poised and assured vocals. Everything works here -- the vocals, the guitars, the little piano touches. The opener, “Old Gin Road,” could play anywhere on today’s radio dial, from new country stations to alternative rock stations. It features crisp guitars, great hooks, and a solid lead vocal from Nash, and it’s no accident that it’s the band’s first single. But it might not even be the best song on the album. “I Don’t Mind" is just as good, and “Pretty People,” driven by a Stones-like guitar riff and British Invasion harmonies, is arguably even better. Oh, and then there’s “Revolution,” which sounds like the rocking political song Tom Petty has always wanted to write, and the warm, back-porch folk/bluegrass feel of “Penniless,” which shows just how versatile and talented this band is. These guys are the real deal, and they’ve arrived fully formed. It’s difficult to imagine a better debut album this year.

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