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CD Reviews:  Edwin McCain: The Austin Sessions

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Edwin McCain is one of those artists who sound best when all the fluff and frills are removed so all that’s left is, in its most basic form, the song. Not that this singer/songwriter sounds bad with a full band, but his true artistic magic seems to shine brightest when it’s just him and his guitar. Such is the case with McCain’s latest, The Austin Sessions, a collection of new and old songs as well as some carefully chosen root-sy covers. It’s just acoustic guitar, vocal and the occasional harmony, mandolin or soft horn to accentuate the song.

“Let it Slide” shows McCain’s southern roots with a mandolin-laced chord progression and bluesy harmonies. “No Choice” is a Buddy Mondlock cover that makes you feel like you’re in a Nashville bar singing along with the townies, and the same goes for McCain’s own “Little Girls.” “Go Be Young” is from McCain’s 1999 release Messenger, and is a riveting ballad about a woman getting older, and drowning her sorrows and regrets in alcohol. “Alive” reminds me of early Vertical Horizon, and is one of the oldest McCain pieces on the record -- the other is the spine-tingling “Sorry to a Friend,” a vintage Edwin tune that’s as haunting as it is heartfelt. The poppy covers “Popcorn Box” and “Island Song” are nice diversions, and the Mark Knopfler-penned “Romeo and Juliet” is another gem to close out this set.

After hearing records like this it becomes clear why some singer/songwriters make it while most don’t. In McCain’s case it’s a combination of a deep, raspy voice that can move mountains, stellar guitar playing with big open chords, and a unique modern rock flair that separates him from the pack of most folkies. But more than that, McCain is a storyteller who gives us something to reflect on, complete with goose bumps. 

~Mike Farley : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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