Listening to the odd narrative of the opening cut, "The Reckoning," with its haunted musical backdrop, is both puzzling and perplexing. Is it music or perhaps a dramatic narrative? And if it is music, what kind of music is it? Either way, it's an odd track, and an odd -- since the follow-up track is straight alternative country -- way to open an album. On songs like "Last Thin Line," Kasey Anderson mixes a lean sound and gritty vocals that are reminiscent of Steve Earle. It's a sound that leaves an impression of hard living and experience, and one that easily converts into authenticity. Anderson's worldly wise lyrics deepen this impression. He varies the arrangements from song to song on The Reckoning, mixing acoustic and electric guitars, segueing from easy rolling country-rock ("Long Way Home") to folk ("Don't Look Back"). Overall, the material on The Reckoning is performed well, though Anderson's stylized vocals wear thin when songs like "Don't Look Back" and "You Don't Live Here Anymore" extend beyond the six-minute mark. It is also strange in the latter song that he adopts a higher, more pop affected vocal style, one that doesn't particularly mesh with what has come before. While The Reckoning lacks cohesion, fans who enjoyed 2004's Dead Roses will undoubtedly want to pick up a copy.
by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.