Various Artists

Rockin' at the Barn, Vol. 3

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The idea of a roots rock compilation from Sweden probably sound like some sort of a joke to most folks, but Jan Andersson and his partners at Dusty Records did a solid job of rounding up a roster of solid but obscure twang-oriented acts for their first two Rockin' at the Barn collections, and Volume 3 certainly lives up to the high standards they've established in the past. Unlike the first two albums, Rockin' at the Barn, Vol. 3 features a few artists from outside the United States (two from Sweden, three from the U.K.), though everyone on board sounds convincingly American, and if you didn't know better you'd likely guess everyone here was from the States. A few of the acts on board feature names that may ring a bell with avid record collectors -- Chaz and the Motorbikes features former Scruffy the Cat leader Charlie Chesterman, while Louis Ortega and the Wild Juans is fronted by the former vocalist from Louis and the Lovers -- but the relative obscurity of most of the artists makes it clear there are plenty of strong Americana acts still waiting to be discovered, most notably the quietly bitter the Lonesome Trailers, the tough rockin' Robert Jackson, the fiery the Barn Burners, the resonant folk-rock of Hanif, the darkly atmospheric the Mary Janes, and the smart country-folk of Eric Blakely. Like most compilations, there are a few clinkers on board as well -- one can only hope that Big Al's "Buster the Line Dancing Dog" is a too-accurate parody of C&W novelty songs, and Carlton Collins' hits a foul ball with "Rock of Ages." But Rockin' at the Barn, Vol. 3 still manages a pretty high batting average throughout it's 71 minutes, and anyone with a taste for alt-country or roots rock should find something here to latch onto. So when's Volume 4 coming out?

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