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The Hollisters

Sweet Inspiration – 2000 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Hollisters

Three years out from their initial release, The Hollisters are back reprising the band's stripped-down sound and potent mix of styles. After kicking things off with "Fishing Man" (its Cajun touches reminiscent of Doug Kershaw's "Louisiana Man"), the band visits honky-tonk ground (the barroom sentiments of "Drinking For Two") and rootsy rock and roll (Ted Roddy's "Love Rustler," highlighted by guitarist Eric Danheim's whining, snaky leads) and throws in a little rig rock along the way (if a song about driving a dumptruck rather than an 18-wheeler counts as such) with "Holes in the Road."

The Hollisters once again invites comparison - encouraged by singer Mike Barfield's baritone and Danheim's Perkinsesque licks - to Johnny Cash on fare such as "Two Trains" and the low-and-slow "Walk 'Em Off." But the Hollisters seem most at home and find their strongest suit in the irresistible, midtempo shuffling groove represented by the bachelor's anthem "Tonkin'," by "Little Ole You" (again featuring Danheim's weaving, full-twang guitar), and "Little Everyday."

If this record lacks a bit of the spark of their first, it also seems a tighter, more developed affair that should gain The Hollisters the wider audience they deserve.