CD Review of Good and Reckless and True by The Alternate Routes

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Good and Reckless and True
starstarstarstarno star Label: Vanguard Records
Released: 2005
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Songwriting is back in a big way with the Alternate Routes, a three-piece band from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Recorded in Nashville with acclaimed producer Jay Joyce (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt), the debut from this exciting young pop/rock band is full of hooks and introspective songwriting that many of today’s artists seem to have forgotten about. The Alternate Routes are fronted by guitarist/vocalist Tim Warren, who has been accurately compared as a singer to Damien Rice and Ryan Adams—with one of those signature voices that never tires the listener. Warren and guitarist Eric Donnelly share the songwriting responsibilities and are adept at marrying melody and arrangement, but somehow without sounding like anything else.

“Ordinary” has an engaging chorus with lush vocal harmonies, and the first single, “Who Cares,” is a guitar-driven track that sounds as big production-wise as anything Joyce has ever put out. “Aftermath” is pure hooks, and the intoxicating and bluesy “Going Home With You” shows a strong resemblance to Ryan Adams overall. Then, just when an album usually hits its lull, some of the best material on this collection emerges—the pure pop brilliance of “Time is a Runaway,” the breezy “Endless Conversation,” and the timeless piano ballad “The Black and White” make this an album with few, if any, filler tracks.

When a new band like this is trying to break, so many things are not in their favor in today’s music industry landscape. But the Alternate Routes are one of those bands that rightfully deserves every opportunity, and one whose sheer talent has the potential to bring them a cult following, multi-platinum success, or all of the above. Until then, Good and Reckless and True is something all you bandwagon types should pick up now, before the bandwagon runs you over.

~Mike Farley