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Slider Pines
Road Avenue Railroad
Wire To Ear Records
www.sliderpines.com


Slider Pines' songwriter Joey Shanks claims to have written Road Avenue Railroad while moving back and forth between Dallas and Memphis, and there's a distinctly unsettled feeling running through these 11 tracks. Shanks appears to have learned well his lessons in rock & roll sarcasm. Nick Lowe once sang, "I love the sound of breaking glass," which makes boy-girl arguments sound not so bad after all. With "The Art Of Falling Down," Shanks sings, "It's such a beautiful sound/The art of falling down." But before reaching the chorus, he fills his verses with admonitions, such as getting prepared with the best helmet you can find, before artfully tripping all over yourself. Much like any good novelist, Shanks also knows his way around creating a musical narrative. He gets specific with towns and cities along his lyrical travelogue, notably with one titled "Bluffs Of Riverton", which is followed by "The Memphis Hack".

This CD closes with "Visitor At Your Grave", which sounds on the surface like another one of those depressing Morrissey laments. But surprisingly, it's not nearly as morbid as it seems. Shanks sings about his imagined devotion to a girl; one he aspires to spend a lifetime with. If he realizes this dream he says, "I won't be just a visitor to your grave."

Slider Pines is a smart rock band that incorporates hints of alt.country, without actually sounding country at all. Instead, this trio knows how to slip in the best bits of American music without ever becoming typecast by any particular genre.

I have no idea where Slider Pines is, but if it's hiding any more music like Road Avenue Railroad, then doggone it, I want to get there soon.

-Dan MacIntosh


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