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Steve Scott Country’s Those Tears I’ve Cried (Bona Vita) comes with the tag line “Made in Detroit: Rustbelt country Americana at its best!” Sorry sir, but this is not Americana at its best. It’s not even Detroit Americana at its best – see the Deadstring Brothers for that honor. It is a decent country album though, despite the sleeve featuring Scott Country posing with his hat over his face (a quick look at his website tells that he does that pose an awful lot). You have to admire the man’s confidence but, the truth is, this is the sort of country you hear on country radio, minus the big production. If that shiny version of the genre is your bag, you’ll dig this.
The Hamiltons’ In Cranford We Trust (Soul Fire) is a tribute to the late Cranford Nix, singer with underrated local rock ’n’ roll band the Malakas and, by all accounts, it’s existence has courted a little controversy. Still, we only care about the music. The people involved in the recording might have loved Nix, maybe this record was necessary for them, but the songs are lacking the energy, the guts and grit, that made them special to begin with. As Brian Smith wrote in 2002, “Nix’s songs blur the line between pathetic junkie confessionals and bordering-the-brilliant storytelling. Guitar-driven, trashy pop was his forte. Picture Paul Westerberg if Westerberg’s drug of choice had been heroin, not booze. The imagery ranged from cliché guitar-in-hawk Johnny Thunders, to brutal, sometimes cruel, in-yer-face honesty with a real heart beating through.”
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