Rick Moranis

The Agoraphobic Cowboy

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A country album from a Canadian comedian and actor who has been living in New York City for over 20 years? It has to be a joke, right? Well, sort of. Rick Moranis, best known for his work on the SCTV series as "Great White North" dunderhead Bob McKenzie, had been listening to a lot of country-rock and newgrass thanks to his kids, who got hip to the Yonder Mountain String Band though their fondness for Phish. Moranis suddenly found himself with a lot of ideas for country-flavored tunes, and he hooked up with musician Tony Scheer and started recording the songs at Scheer's home studio, and now Moranis has released the results as The Agoraphobic Cowboy. All these songs are played for laughs to some degree, but while a few are straight-up goofs (like "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Oh So Bucco"), most are observational sketches with a humorous twist (the sad-sack tale of "Nine More Gallons" and the brokenhearted telephone lament of "Press Pound"), and are only a bit goofier than real old-school C&W numbers like "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" or "Dang Me." As a singer, Moranis seems well aware of his limitations, and brings an understated deadpan approach to his vocals (he thankfully avoids the temptation to tack on a phony Southern accent). Scheer's guitar and banjo picking is sharp, while the band keeps the arrangements rootsy and uncluttered. All in all, everyone involved (particularly Moranis) seems to be having a great time and no one is fooling themselves into believing they're making a masterpiece; if The Agoraphobic Cowboy is a goof, it's a good goof and generates a handful of genuine chuckles as it ambles along.

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