“The Town Where I Live” – Rick Shea & The Losin’ End

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It’s about time for one of those disclaimers again. This is all purely subjective and it’s one person’s response to an album. Felt I had to say that because I had such an unusual response to this Rick Shea album. The first half of the album drifted gently over me, leaving no impression at all, whereas the second half, well, it didn’t get right up in my face and scream at me, but it certainly shouted ‘Howdy’ from across the road. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the first five songs, just that they didn’t light any fires under me; even “Hold on Jake”, a guitar-driven zydeco twelve-bar didn’t quite cut it.

Ironically, it was the slow, delicate “Trouble like This”, with its interwoven acoustic and electric guitars and vocal harmonies that was the first song to grab my attention, followed rapidly by the uptempo twelve-bar “(You’re Gonna Miss Me) When I’m Gone” with lovely harmonies again and a guitar solo that was dirty and satisfyingly unpredictable. It was all worthwhile by the time “The Angel Mary and Rounder Jim” came around; a country song with a narrative, simple but effective, of life and love on the road with pedal steel, solid harmonies again and a little bit of a Mexican twist. And “Guess Things Happen that Way” is pretty good as well, with a rhythm that’s powered along by floor toms, hints of Phil and Don in the melody and harmonies, raw guitar and another pedal steel solo.

There are a few very good songs on this album, and some classy playing; I’d just like to hear a little more grit in the mix.

“The Town Where I Live” is released in the UK on Friday February 2 on Tres Pescadores Records (TPCD-11).