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The Luckouts feature former Ruiners bass player Liz Scaris, now on guitar in a power-rock trio that brings to mind a Joan-Jett fronted band, somewhere between her Runaways and Blackhearts periods. The songs are cool and the musicianship adequate, and the vocals, while sweet and naïve, have a Shaggs-esque charm. This self-titled album is rough-as-fuck, something that Scaris is quick to admit, but it’s far from horrible and it hints at great times ahead.
Zander Michigan does his best Bob Dylan impression on Never Going Back Home. Not that I’m knocking him – if you’re going to emulate someone, aim for the very best. But the vocal inflections and tones are so Dylan-esque that the man who loves his state so much he’s named himself after it sounds like a tribute act, albeit with original tunes. It’s a hard thing to put to one side, which is a shame because the songs are strong – trad folk with smart lyrics. Bob wouldn’t be too upset.
Blues man Bobby Murray has had quite the journey thus far. He relocated to Detroit from the West Coast in ’96, and he played with Etta James, Albert Collins, Albert King and John Lee Hooker. That’s quite the resume. Man, he’s even recorded with BB King on the Grammy-winning album Blues Summit. All of which is vary impressive, but how does Murray fare on his own, on his new I’m Sticking With You album? Not bad, to be fair. He uses a number of vocalists, including himself, and that’s where the record falls down. The inconsistency, and the lack of any real feeling, results in an album that just sounds flat.