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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Twangdogs

Live from the Lost Artists Show

Review by Gary Hill

I had a little trouble reviewing this. It’s not that the performances are bad. In fact, that’s far from the truth. There is a real problem with the recording, though. It’s kind of an audience recording (or at least it feels like it is) and is often distant and echoey. Add to that the fact that at times the guitars are a little out of tune, and it’s far from a perfect album. The thing is, once you can get beyond that, these performances are quite good. I love the drumming, the vocal arrangements and the general country turned jam band kind of vibe. This might have a bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth the time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Have You Ever Seen the Rain

Although the country based female vocal here is a bit distant and echoey, I like what it brings to the CCR classic. The whole piece definitely has a bit of a country vibe. I can make out some Grateful Dead, too.

Oh Boy
A Buddy Holly tune, this is much more of a rock and roller. It still suffers a bit from the distant echoey element, but somehow it works a bit better than the opener did.
Hell on Heels
The echo is pretty extreme here. Somehow it almost brings a psychedelic shoegaze vibe with it, though. This is mostly country, but it’s cool, too. For some reason this makes me think of Fleetwood Mac a little. It’s a rocker with some bluesy elements at play.
Poor Poor Pitiful Me
I bet a lot of people think this is a Linda Ronstadt song. She did make it famous, but it was written and originally recorded by Warren Zevon. This is a bit more rocking than some of the rest. It’s fun, but I’ve never been a big fan of the song.
Your Life is Now

Originally a John Mellencamp song, this version is a mellow rocker that has some definite energy. The multilayered vocal arrangement is good. I wish the recording and mix were better because I really like this one.

Best of My Love
You can’t really argue with The Eagles in terms of songwriting. This is a mellow version. It suffers a bit from the echo situation. Still, I like this live take.
In State
This seems to suffer a little from some tuning issues. The energy and vibe make up for that, though. The echo scenario doesn’t help, though. The drumming really drives it. In fact, I think the drums might be a little too high in the mix. This song works well despite a couple things that could really drag it down. Still, it’s not a highlight for sure.
Down by the Water

Actually one of my favorite songs here, this is a strong tune. Unfortunately it does suffer quite a bit from the recording. It has more of an alternative rock vibe, but the country and jam band sounds are also present here.

I’m With the Band
This is the Twangdogs take on a song by Little Big Town. I like this rendition quite a bit. It really brings a very Grateful Dead like sound. The guitar solo is particularly tasty, too.
Dead Flowers
I’ve always loved this song. I like this version quite a bit. It’s got some great rocking energy and the country edge is represented well. This might be my favorite song of the disc, really. It’s a great way to close the set in style.
 
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