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Teddy Larkin

Yankee on the Wagon – 2002 (Scarywagon Songs)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Teddy Larkin

Hailing initially from the Northeast but now plying his trade in Tennessee, Teddy Larkin is a singer-songwriter who pulls comparisons to others, yet offers plenty of his own style.

Apparently he didn't fit into the blues crowd there because his stuff was too country. Boston's loss is Nashville's gain. Larkin's self-produced 10-song record is at times Buddy Miller, then Jack Ingram with plenty of John Prine thrown in. Not because Larkin is mimicking some of the great singer-songwriters, but because there's an uncanny wink and smile to his songwriting, a compelling twist to his lyrics as the raspy voice narrates his tales.

"Hazel Eyes" in particular is classic Prine, not only vocally, but with the storytelling that's a Prine trademark. "Old Farts" has Ingram's Texas twist to it, while "Suicide" draws from Miller's wry attitude. More than being just a songwriter's thoughts picked and sung in front of a microphone, this is a pretty good listen as well. There's enough picking to keep it interesting, as Larkin employs longtime partner and co-songwriter Gerry Bellegarde on bass and guitars and Tim Lorsch on fiddle and mandolin. Roots rocker Tim Carroll even pitches in his guitar on the opening "Counting Her Out of My Life."

What will distinguish Larkin from the dozens of other singer-songwriters kicking around Nashville? As he admits in his song "If Walls Could Talk," Larkin is an "average Joe," yet he is able to relate attitudes and philosophies is well-told, tightly packed three-minute songs. Now that's something special.