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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cullen Wade and The Waters

Cullen Wade and the Waters

Review by Gary Hill

This album showcases an artist that is less interested in breaking new ground musically than in doing exceptional work in time-honored traditions. The sounds here are built on rock, singer-songwriter music, country and folk. Everything here is good enough to shine. A few tracks really surpass the rest and make themselves into the kinds of things that stand out.

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Track by Track Review
A short bit of mellower guitar opens this. They fire out into a rocking sort of country leaning arrangement from there. Indie rock, country and other southern vibes merge on this tune.
Broken and Bruised
On the one hand, there are more indie rock things at play here. On the other, though, this has more roots music in the mix, too. It's a classy number from start to finish.
Much more of a folk-based number, this still has the usual suspects in place in terms of leanings. It's another classy piece on a disc full of solid music.
I dig the mix of rock and country music on this quite a bit. There is a tasty little guitar solo on the tune. This is a slower number that feels like a singer-songwriter kind of thing.
Old Habits
This might be my favorite song here. The passionate delivery of the vocals really push it over the edge. It has a hard driving sound and a lot of blues in the mix.
Knocked Me Dead
This has a lot of emotional power in it, too. It's another standout track. It's more of a balladic rocker with some hints of blues and country in it. While this doesn't sound like Tom Petty, it seems to occupy the same kind of territory as a lot of his music.
Sinking Ship
A hard rocking number by the time it's done, this also has healthy helpings of country and southern rock built into it. While this isn't at the same level as the last couple, it is strong.
Pretty Good
With a lot of folk and country at its core, this gets pretty energized and involved before it's over. While not a highlight, this is "pretty good." Well, I'd say "very good," but I couldn't resist that line.
Preacher Boy
Folk, country and rock all merge on this tune. While solid, this definitely doesn't rise to the level of standout.
Ms. Vickie
A mainstream rocker with singer-songwriter vibes, this is another solid piece.
Lover’s Questions
Now, this is another standout. It has a lot of retro Americana in it. It's dramatic, powerful and so classy. There is also some smoking hot bluesy guitar riffing on this song. In fact, the extended guitar-dominated instrumental section at the end is on fire. It ends with a cool journey into feedback territory.
Take It Slow
A pretty standard slow rocker, this is good, but I think it would have served the album better to put it in the previous song's slot. Mind you, I get the whole gentle landing effect I think they were going for, but I'm more a believer in ending on a peak, and that last track was definitely a peak.
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