Cowboy

Reach for the Sky

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While not exactly the house band for Phil Walden's Macon, GA-based Capricorn Records label, the members of the acoustic aggregate Cowboy -- consisting of Scott Boyer (guitars/violin/vocals), Tommy Talton (guitars/vocals), Bill Pillmore (piano/guitar/fiddle/vocals), Tomm Wynn (drums/percussion), George Clark (bass), and Pete Kowalke (guitars/vocals/drums) -- could be found on recordings by the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman (whom they regularly supported), Alex Taylor, and Bonnie Bramlett. Their debut Reach for the Sky (1971) amply shows off their rural whimsy and substantial acoustic capacities. While their country-rock leanings are comparable to the Hearts & Flowers, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, or Pure Prairie League, they rely on their solid original material rather than adaptations and variations on traditional works and standards from the genre. However, as the mini-hoedown "Honey Ain't Nowhere" proves, they dew drop in for some unquestionably bluegrass-inspired pickin'. The succinct "Amelia's Earache" and "Pick Your Nose" are both off-the-wall indulgences that nicely balance out the stunning "Beautiful Friend" and the mid-tempo rocker "Stick Together," which bears all the earmarks of an early-'70s Allman Brothers side. Similarly, "Rip & Snort" features a strong repetitive rhythm that is accentuated by the guitarists in a tandem lead similar to that of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. Another recommended spin is the languid and laid-back "It's Time," as it wafts into a vibe reminiscent of Neil Young circa After the Gold Rush (1970). Reach for the Sky (1971) is full of pleasurable, if not slightly pastoral, music that is recommended for inclined ears who likewise favor Southern rock.

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