A.C. Cotton

Notes for the Conversation

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A.C. Cotton is a no-nonsense Americana rock & roll band, bringing to mind the heydays of groups like the Connells and the BoDeans. This is made clear on the tight power pop/rock of "Midnight Knees" as lead singer and songwriter Alan Charing steers the group down a lovely roots rock road. The band is just as successful on the swampy, Southern fried ditty "Walt," which sounds like the Black Crowes circa Amorica. Another tune that is quite pleasing is the slower Tom Petty-meets-Keith Richards "See You Again," a perfectly executed tune that strolls along. The jangle on each song is another plus, especially on the long-titled "The Pony Show (Or the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility") that sounds eerily like Canadian act the Odds. The group gets into a quasi-rock hoedown on the rockabilly-tinged "This Is Where It Is," resembling a mountain version of the Stray Cats. But "Syndication Plantation Fire" doesn't quite hit the mark as it winds around a clich├ęd arrangement that it seems John Fogerty perfected long ago. The low point comes during "Hanging Day in Claytown," a track that is knee-deep in Texas blues but falls quite flat quite quickly. The fact it's over in less than 90 seconds means it was an unfinished idea best left off the record. Petty circa "Mary Jane's Last Dance" is the cornerstone of "40 Days," especially with its crisp guitar riffs. Perhaps the best moment on the record is "Over And Done." a downbeat song that recalls the best of Blue Rodeo and Wilco. Here the band takes its good old time getting its message across with a pinch of piano in the distance. They venture down the rockabilly, boogie road with a hell-raising "Rabbit Rabbit."

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