Leave it to ace songwriters â€“ Big Al Anderson, Shawn Camp and Pat McLaughlin â€“ to come up with an attention-getting, tongue-in-cheek name for their new group. All three are indeed world-famous, at least among those of who read songwriting credits, and Andersonis widely known, at least among a well-bred set of listeners, for his guitar slinging and lengthy tenure in NRBQ. All three have written Nashville hits, co-written with rootsy outsiders, and had their songs covered by both mainstream and non-mainstream legends. Together with veteran players Michael Rhodes on bass and Greg Morrow on drums, the trio of songwriters steps up front for a set of country, rock, blues and soul originals whose eclecticism is not unlike the variety recorded by Andersonâ€™s previous band.
The set opens at a Rockpile-styled canter with â€œGive Your Love to Me,â€ featuring call-and-response vocals and electric guitar solos; Morrow kicks off the subsequent â€œMamaritaâ€ with a solid second-line beat that eases the band into the songâ€™s New Orleans mood. 1950s balladry threads through several songs, but the modern touches, such as the bewitching bass vamp of â€œHeart of Gold,â€ keep the productions from turning retro. The vocalists often sing as a chorus, but there are solo turns that conjure the straight-shooting delivery of Waylon Jennings, with some yowling harmonies that suggest The Band. The group plays loping country soul, ala the Hacienda Brothers, and Cajun-spiced rockers that will remind you of David Lindleyâ€™s solo work.
The trioâ€™s songs are as good as the band theyâ€™ve assembled, with catchy melodies, deep grooves, and lyrics that are both playful and thought-provoking. They write mostly of loveâ€™s pains and pleas, leavened with apology and elation, and couched in finely-crafted lyrics and clever rhymes that can be funny and sad at the same time. The bandâ€™s collective pulse, particularly on the mid-tempo R&B numbers, belies the five individual careers twined together for the first time. Their chemistry is the result of decades of complementary work that, in a just world, would actually lead to headlining gigs around the globe. [Â©2012 hyperbolium dot com]