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The Jimmy Nations Combo

Tarheel Boogie – 2000 (Rubric)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by The Jimmy Nations Combo

In spite of New York City's enormous size, the Big Apple has historically produced a pretty miniscule number of convincing rockabilly and country acts. Pick your reasons, but in the end they're all probably correct to one extent or another. Add the Jimmy Nations Combo to the long list of the city's hopefuls, but in the end they're not much of an improvement over what's come before. Their talent is immediately apparent: Though not a particularly moving singer, Nations is a fine guitarist, and steel guitarist Skip Krevens turns in some excellent work throughout (with some particularly fine work on "New City Rock" and the instrumental "Hayride to Hong Kong"). But other than the rock-solid instrumental work, it's hard to care about too much of what's heard here. In the hands of a more interesting vocalist, numbers like "I'll Never Feel That Way Again" and a cover of Wynn Stewart's "Wishful Thinking" might have turned out better. But as it is, Nations just isn't capable of pulling off this kind of material convincingly. It's not that Nations is bad. He's more than capable of carrying a tune. But one never gets the impression that he's carrying it anywhere in particular. It takes a whole lot more than a vocal twang to put across this kind of material. (Rubric, 12 W. 57th St., 5th Floor, New York City, NY 10018)