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The Great Divide

Break in the Storm – 1998 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by The Great Divide

The Great Divide doesn't seem to know what kind of band they want to be. Initially, the presence of producer Lloyd Maines would suggest they have alternative country aspirations, but much of this has more in common with today's new country.

At times, lead guitarist Mike McClure seems to envision himself as leader of an Eighties rock band ("Never Could," "I Want to Come Home") with incongruous solos. Even when the sound is more traditional ("Heart of Stone," "Dodgers Were in Brooklyn") or the Jimmy Buffett-inspired "Pour Me a Vacation," McClure's lyrics are often cliched and predictable. Maines adds an air of authenticity with his steel guitar, and Gene Elders' fiddle is a nice touch, but on the whole the mix is unsatisfying.

It's unclear whether the Great Divide wants to be a mainstream country act, a rock band, or part of the Americana movement. A nudge to the latter could help this Oklahoma band escape the blandness dominating this sometimes interesting, but ultimately disappointing album.