The Vidalias

Stayin' in the Doghouse

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The Vidalias' Charles Walston possesses a singing voice that bears an uncanny, almost frightening resemblance to his fellow Georgian Gram Parsons. At a time when it seemed that everybody and their brother was dropping the country-rock pioneer's name as an influence, being saddled with the comparison could be considered more a curse than blessing. Walston and the other four Vidalias, however, need not worry. There's enough originality here to put to rest any notion that Walston and company are merely an imitation of a novelty. Stayin' in the Doghouse, the Vidalias' second album is a 12-song collection, continuing the great musicianship and first-rate songwriting of 1995's Melodyland. If anything, this record is slightly more consistent than that effort, with the band's sound more focused, due largely to the fact that Walston's songwriting has just gotten better. With a tip of the hat to country-era Byrds, the original Flying Burrito Brothers, and a straight-ahead roots rock sensibility, Stayin' in the Doghouse is a pleasure throughout. Once again, pedal steel guitarist Henry Bruns demonstrates he's a force to be reckoned with, whether it be lightning-quick picking or weeping crescendos. Song highlights include the country-rockin' swagger of "Misery Loves Company," and the minor-keyed "Whose Side Are You On?" with Bruns copping a snippet of melody from the Western movie theme "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly" for effect.

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