Bob Egan

The Promise

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Bob Egan has been a noted sideman (pedal steel/multi-instrumentalist) throughout the '90s and beyond, doing extended stints with Wilco and Freakwater, to name a few, and finally landing in the lineup of Blue Rodeo, that Canadian country-folk-rock juggernaut of a band. (His addition to the group made him the token American.) This is Egan's sophomore release, coming on the heels of his 1999 self-titled debut. The set is produced by Blue Rodeo co-leader Greg Keelor and features appearances from Travis Good and the Be Good Tanyas and co-writes with the Rodeo's Bazil Donovan. Egan crafts earthy Americana tunes full of lonesome highway themes that are propelled by his earnest, unadorned vocals. This is a stirring collection, riding on the strength of prolonged meditations on heartbreak such as "Cold Wind" and "Country Girl," calling to mind the downtrodden, gorgeous balladry of early-'70s Gene Clark. (In fact, Egan's voice at times possesses the same striking emotional timbre as Clark's.) The no-frills production only adds to the overall earthy ambience. Egan is more than just a sideman looking for his own creative outlet -- his is clearly a voice that needed to be heard.

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