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Non-Prog CD Reviews

New Riders of the Purple Sage

17 Pine Avenue

Review by Gary Hill

I remember these guys from the 1970s. They return here with a new disc. It manages to weave a trail that is pretty diverse, while still fitting into the general heading of country-based Americana. If you enjoyed their old stuff, this one is sure to resonate. It would also make a good introduction to this talented outfit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Prisoner of Freedom

Combining country with blues and gospel, this reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan. I can also make out some hints of something like The Grateful Dead. There’s some smoking hot slide guitar on this tune, too. Another guitar solo section mid-track really has an old time rock and roll sound to it. There’s more slide guitar soloing on the extended instrumental segment later that almost feels like a countrified Led Zeppelin with some Grateful Dead styled jam band sound.

Message in a Bottle
This is bouncy and fun. It’s kind of like a zydeco styled country tune. It’s certainly down-home in sound and style. There’s some great slide guitar on this, too. Rather than more bluesy rocking as it was on the opener, though, it’s more like bluegrass.
Fivio
There’s more of a folk sound to this cut. At times it reminds me a little of Tom Petty. Sure, there’s still some country in the mix here, but it’s really more like Americana with a heavy dosage of folk music.
Just the Way It Goes
A roots rock styled jam, this has some country, but really is more like something Dire Straits might do, with a twang added to the mix.
17 Pine Avenue
If the opener had some Grateful Dead leanings, this one is purely dominated by them. This reminds me so much of the shuffling, countrified blues styles the Dead often worked within. It’s a fun tune with a lot of energy and some real style and character.
Down for the Ride
Here’s a real down home country tune. It’s low key, but I love how the slide guitar plays throughout.
No Time
Country based rock, this also calls to mind The Dead quite a bit. Once again, like with pretty much the whole disc, the slide guitar really sells this thing.
Shake That Thing
There’s definitely more of that Grateful Dead sound on this roots rocker, but I can also make out plenty of Tom Petty type sounds. There are a couple of melodies here that really sound familiar. This has some especially tasty melodic guitar soloing.
Suite at the Mission
A slow moving, balladic cut, this is part folk music and part country. It’s all tasty.
I Know There's Someone Else
With an energized arrangement, this is like bluegrass meets roots rock.
Six of One
Just another country influenced roots rocker, this is a fun tune.
Truth Is Dead
A slow moving country tune, this is kind of like Bob Dylan meets the Stones’ “Far Away Eyes.”
 
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