Cari Lee & the Saddle-ites

The Road Less Traveled

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Cari Lee kicks off The Road Less Traveled with a tear in her eye and an ache in her heart, singing about the one that got away in "Standing in Your Window." It doesn't hurt that her voice has been run through an echo chamber, making it sound like a jukebox favorite from the 1960s. "My San Antonio Baby" swings a bit more, as in Western swing, with the Saddle-Ites adding just the right portion of steel guitar and fiddle. The spare, elastic arrangements hold the fine line between country and rock. The jaunty piano and steel of "Mama Told Me" makes way for the brooding guitar of "Nobody Loves You (Like Me)." This latter number, in fact, is the highlight of the album, with Lee and the band sounding like they're auditioning for a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. The album begins to fall away at this point, primarily because the material doesn't keep pace with the performances. Original lyrics like "You won't find my replacement/I'm not from a bargain basement" don't help. These guys and girls can sing and play, though, and The Road Less Traveled seems to promise good things to come from Cari Lee & the Saddle-Ites.

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