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Rodeo Ruby Love
This Is Why We Don't Have Nice Things
Crossroads Of America Records
www.rodeorubylove.net


Picture, if you will (said in the best Rod Serling voice) a band with the same self-deprecating sense of humor as The Smoking Popes, mixed with a slight hankering for reggae/ska? If you are successful in this test of imagination, your image will look something like Rodeo Ruby Love.

Songs, such as "Secrets" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", each feature a horn section. Only the latter also goes into a slight reggae section too, whereas the former takes on a bit of a musical vibe. Rodeo Ruby Love songs, much like many The Smoking Popes' songs, focus on love gone wrong. This disc opens with one titled "Elizabeth", which is short and acoustic guitar-backed. The singer wonders if there is room in heaven for himself and his true love. Love can get petty and just plain wrong we learn here, however, as the main character in "Black Sunday" finds himself counting the cigarettes his girl smokes, and the beers she drinks. Really?

Rodeo Ruby Love can morph into something grander than a four-piece rock band instrumentally because it's an Indiana band, seven members strong. This makes for a fuller pop sound, which is why "America's Funniest Home Videos" can grow from a punkish workout, to the horn-colored track it ultimately becomes.

It's difficult to not have a soft spot for Rodeo Ruby Love. Once again referencing The Smoking Popes, cheering on Rodeo Ruby Love is a little like pulling for the underdog; if there's any justice in the world, love will conquer all of this talented act's love troubles.

-Dan MacIntosh

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