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The Kentucky HeadHunters

Songs From the Grass String Ranch – 2000 (Audium)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

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CDs by The Kentucky HeadHunters

In country, you either are or you aren't. With the Kentucky HeadHunters, they're about as obvious in the country field as Bill Clinton in a monastery. Yeah, the HeadHunters may be country folks and Clinton may believe in God, but logic doesn't necessarily mean they practice their respective virtues. And so, with the HeadHunters' latest is to country what Clinton is to a monk: strangers.

Take the opening cut, "Grass String Ranch." Despite its incessantly country theme and Doug Phelps' fine vocals, it just isn't country. Ditto for almost all of the 11 tracks. OK, no problem. Contemporary country, here we come, right? Not quite. Guitarists Richard Young and Greg Martin sound more like the Rolling Stones than George Jones, only worse. Don't even ask about Young's horrid lead vocals on "Louisiana Coco."

What a shame, too. Otherwise crisp tunes "Country Life" and "Jessico" suffer from a stilted rock sound that doesn't quite fit Kentucky's motley crew. Say, have these boys been lost souls in country's woods, looking for rock and roll? Sure sounds like it.