Pete Krebs

Sweet Ona Rose

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In what was one of the best, though unjustly overlooked, albums of 1999, Pete Krebs delivers his most varied and accessible album to date. Working with an excellent backing band, including former Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd, Krebs crafted some of the sharpest pop hooks he's ever written. From the punchy horn arrangements on the opening track "Johnny Come Lately" to the Old 97s mixed with the Beatles rock of "Quickly Steals Away," this is an extremely satisfying album. Most impressive of all might be the excellent "Ashes Back to Vegas," which sounds as if it could be a lost Flying Burrito Brothers track. To be sure, the ghost of Gram Parsons can be heard on more than one track here, most noticeably on the steel guitar drenched "Take Me Away." What makes Krebs seem even more genius is the way he can take the Parsons sound and cross pollinate it with Elvis Costello-like arrangements and energy, making this one of the truly great country-rock albums in recent memory. At other times, Krebs seems to be channeling the collective spirit of the Replacements, as on "Hey Mr. Smalltown." This is the sound of an artist fully realizing his potential, and considering all the elements at work here, it's highly recommended listening.

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