New Hampshire's Slant 6 Cowboys display traces of Johnny Cash and Steve Earle on their debut. "Your Man" in particular recalls Cash's Sun era, though with the harder edge of the "American Recording" years.
Elsewhere the alt.-country influence of Earle appears to be strong. Songwriter Don Whitcher tackles dark themes in such tunes as "Badlands", "Hard Times" and "Cold Hard Facts," though he avoids being as overtly political as Earle has been in recent years.
Whitcher is the focal point of the band as the lead singer and songwriter as well as playing Dobro, mandolin and pedal steel. Lead guitarist Peter James Coonradt provides some fancy licks, particularly on an extended tasteful solo on "Jesus and Elvis." Nicely rounding out the band are drummer Ephraim Lowell and bassist Andreas Lawrence. Other standout tracks are a trio of tunes that feature nice harmonies from guest vocalist April Hobart, most notably "Tenessee Love" which is reminiscent of Emmy Lou Harris' duets with Earle.
The Slant 6 Cowboys impressive debut effort has the band poised to spread their music beyond their New England base. (Box 10070, Swanzey, N.H. 03446)