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The Rounders
Wish I Had You
Blind Pig Records
www.the-rounders.com


The Rounders kick off their new album, Wish I Had You, with the blues shaker "God Knows I'm Trying". Things don't stray too far from this formula for the next forty-nine minutes. Despite calling Oklahoma City their home, the album has a New Orleans, laid-back, country blues flavor to it. Brian Whitten's vocals have the crunch of being recorded on a vintage ribbon microphone and there's a raw, analogue quality to all the tracks.

This is the third effort from the quintet and it's not very far off from the North Mississippi Allstars' Shake Hands With Shorty; w ith strong vocals set back and surrounded by fuzzed out, dirty electric guitars. "My Getaway" features some electric guitar duels that pick things up nicely with some smooth slide guitar. On "You Know Better Than That", the fuzzy guitars and crunchy vocals make way for a clean, country melody. Although the solos aren't typically flashy, the constant telecaster plucking is crisp throughout. The Rounders continue to pick things up five tracks in with "Through No Fault Of My Own" which brings in a smoking harmonica and a powerful, kickass chorus. Also meshed in between the swampy blues rock is "Oh, My Dear Mind", a catchy country song with Whitten's vocals way up front.

The only minor annoyance I found was that many of the album's songs have brief instrumental breaks that could benefit from occasional solos or at least a little chord flare to prevent them from chugging along and sounding a little jammy. The guitar work of Michael Stone and Ryan Taylor is excellent, but their moments in the spotlight are few and far between.

The Rounders are undeniably proficient in pop, country, and especially, blues. The songs on this album are scattered nicely throughout to give some variety and keep you attentive.

-Jon Murray


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