CD review

The Honest Hour

By Written by Sam Saunders
Whisperin' and Hollerin'

Reid Genauer and his high quality pick-up band of touring pros knock out this comfortable sounding album with the ease of pulling on the pants and check shirts that they probably wear to the College gigs that pay their wages.

Its undemanding, proficient stuff built around well-made songs that could be Jackson Browne, Van Morrison or even Neil Young tunes. They aren't. But they could be. Only, as they say, in America, could stuff this unfashionable still earn a living. The recording is live with stabs of appreciative applause to remind us. But you wouldnt know it otherwise. The edges have been smoothed and the notes are perfect. The crowd quite likes it. They've had some beer and they're Having a Good Time. So that's cool.

I know I shouldn't say this, but I would enjoy this band a hell of lot more if they just played some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Willie Nelson songs, broke into a Buffalo Springfield tune and finished up with some Gram Parsons. The glistening quality of their playing and a rich voice put Genauer's very OK songs under a sharper spotlight that they can really stand. Some of the poor farmer tragedy stuff that sets out to create dramatic tension against the chirpy guitar licks steers a bit close to bathos for my comfort.