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The Domino Kings
Some Kind Of Sign
Hightone Records

Springfield, Missouri's Domino Kings ride back onto the scene with what just may be the best modern country record since their 2002 release, The Back Of Your Mind. That release saw the departure of Kings' bassist Brian Capps, and the addition of Jimmy Ginnings on guitar. Ginnings has since left the band, but has songwriting credits for one track on the new record. The real core of the Domino Kings remains Stevie Newman, writing songs and twanging away on Telecasters, and Les Gallier still pounding away on the skins. Interestingly enough, Capps returns to help out with some upright bass on a few tracks on this new disc as well. (He's also got his own solo record out now on Hightone Records… look for a review soon)

Enough of that history/ line up stuff. The meat of the Domino Kings' records has always been the earnest and brilliant music. Tremelo guitars and high-energy kick the record off on title track "Some Kind Of Sign". This track is exactly what the faithful have come to depend on The Domino Kings for - classic sounding, twanging, and real country music. Once more showing their abilities at swing, the Kings give us the Ginnings' penned "Walk Away If You Want To", a track that could have just as easily been recorded in 1962 and made a hit on the country charts. "Pain In My Past" shuffles right into the cerebral cortex, creating an instant need to tap the foot and shake the booty. Moving into a bit more of an acoustic porch-music feel, Les Gallier wrote and sings "Don't Want To Do That Again". The track is a humorous and light romp, ably demonstrating the virtuosity of the Kings in a softer, less rocking format… and it's just plain fun. Invoking the spirit of border country (and Freddie Fender) on "It's All Over But The Crying", Newman and company produce some of the finest twang and drawl that has been recorded since the glory days of the X.

The Domino Kings have a hit on their hands with "Lying Next To Me". The song is all jangling guitars, tightly knit drumming, brilliant melody and impressive vocal harmonies. The rockabilly goodness jumps right out of the speakers on "You Tear Me Up", featuring some excellent guitar work and energetic bop. In striking contrast, the Kings have kept the dirgey melancholy song for last, and wrap the album up with "Bridges I've Burned". Utilizing the themes of prison, death and loss, the song runs a close sequel to "Outlaw's Song" not only in subject matter, but in dark musicality and feel.

Some Kind Of Sign is proof positive that Stevie Newman is one of today's finest writers of real, true country music. I would certainly stack his songs right next to the greats like Dale Watson and Dwight Yoakam, both for heart as well as for musical vision. So if you like great country music, but have yet to discover the Domino Kings, get off yer porch and give them a listen!

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Some Kind Of Sign
2. Walk Away If You Want To
3. A Million Miles From Here
4. Pain In My Past
5. Dark Side Of The Moon
6. Don't Want To Do That Again
7. It's All Over But The Crying
8. Lying Next To Me
9. Every Night About This Time
10. You Tear Me Up
11. Bridges I've Burned

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