The Okra All-Stars

The Okra All-Stars

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As fine a country record you'll ever hear, except it was made by the pre-y'allternative scenesters signed to Columbus' Okra label in the early '80s: the Okras are Jeb Loy Nichols (Fellow Travelers), Dave Schramm (the Schramms, Yo La Tengo as well as Hank McCoy (Dead Ringers) and Ricky Barnes (Hoot Owls). The requisite harmonies, twang, lap steel, mandolin and fiddle dominate the sound, but there's a humor and lightness, even some irony -- that isn't always found in traditional country -- and they are the elements that make songs like "Big Mistake" and "I Wouldn't Live in New York City" thrive. An inspired cover version of Prince's "Purple Rain" and a straight take on John Anderson's "Wild and Blue" close out the show. Fans of The Austin Lounge Lizards and Terry Allen might appreciate this merging of the lighter side of traditional music with exceptional musicianship.

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