Tom Landa & the Paperboys / The Paperboys

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Postcards Review

by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

Tom Landa and the Paperboys are a curious combination of Celtic and bluegrass with a healthy dose of rock & roll thrown in. "Le Muton Noir" is a straight, lively Celtic instrumental, featuring bright whistle playing, while "Mary" is a roots rocker complete with electric guitar and pedal steel. Call it free form, but it works. Perhaps it is the guiding vision of singer/songwriter Tom Landa that connects the themes and musical styles together. The album's title, Postcards, also lets the listener know that each of these songs is an individual "postcard," sent by the band from a different region of the globe. Landa receives full support from fiddler Shannon Saunders, flute and whistle player Geoffrey Kelly, and bassist/banjoist Cam Salay. The band is augmented by a multitude of guests, including Brazilian guitarist Celso Machado and accordionist Doug Schmidt. The variety of this material can take some real twists, as when Landa sings "Santiago a Sevilla" and "Cantares" in Spanish. This stylistic oddity-Joe Ely gone Celtic-makes a little more sense when one learns that Landa grew up in Mexico. The band's bluegrass side is exposed on "Goodbye," complete with banjo picking and some nice harmony on the chorus. Postcards is the band's third recording, and its first for Red House. The Paperboys' creative crossing of boarders should provide Celtic and roots fans with something a little different, something less typical to broaden their own boundaries.

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