The New DylansThe New Dylans
Album: Meta
Label: Caveat Emptor
Tracks: 18

Eighteen finely crafted tracks of Ameicana infused alt-folk rock and roll perfection from a band whose fan base apparently includes REM's Michael Stipe amongst others! Released some twenty years after their last album, this collection shows diversity and as you would expect after all this time definite maturity! As the literature accompanying release so rightly states, 'pretty songs for an ugly world'....and plenty of them, yes, eighteen pretty songs...some more pretty than others though!

Jim Reilly and Reese Campbell share vocal and song writing duties, with Jim also on guitars and Reese on keyboards; Chris Autry (Bass) and Ken Coomer (percussion and drums) form the rhythm section and the band are joined by Tim O'Brien on Mandolin, Roy Agee on Trombone, Carissa Shockley on Clarinet and Paul Deakin adds vibes a plenty! Quality craftsmanship throughout matched by production of the highest wonder really that this band is re-gaining so much interest from the more discerning, much as they had done back in the mid eighties when the likes of Andy Kershaw and Danny Baker were spinning their EP on the BBC's more select radio shows!

There's song after song here, that if given the air play they deserve could become alt classics, iconic even....album curtain raiser 'Camel Through a Needle' is a perfect infectious chorus, intriguing lyrics, raw and honest throughout....but that's the album for you in a nut shell, infectious, intriguing, raw and honest.....narrative after narrative furnished poetically, open hearted, open minded and resolute throughout.

While some of the songs are gentle and easy, some are more raucous and this helps ensure the album flows and never has the opportunity to stagnate..... albums of such a generous number of offerings can sometimes fall into this artistic hibernation, but here The New Dylans, with songs such as Fog Line, the tongue in cheek Beach Boys-esque 'Fresno Beach' , and finale 'Little Brother Rag', ensure there is no danger that 'Meta' at any point is even allowed to consider going to seed! There is so much depth here, that the listener is simply not allowed off the hook.....and this listener for one is certainly more than happy to have been hooked by this Warren PA/Nashville TN based band of hard folking, Alt-pop-rockers! Here's not only to further success, and let's hope that second time around it's not only critical success, but also reward enough to ensure that we do not have to wait two more decades for the next absorbing instalment!

James Cosgrove