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Lonesome Brothers

Pony Tales – 2002 (Captivating Music)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Lonesome Brothers

The Western Massachusetts-based Lonesome Brothers - Ray Mason, Jim Armenti and Tom Shea - kick out something they call "hick rock," which they say "smells like diesel." It's really a blend of Crazy Horse and Son Volt, with a little NRBQ for good measure.

The guitars chug and yearn at alternate moments, and Armenti at times sounds like a dead ringer for Jay Farrar. Songs like the hopeful-but-resigned "Next Time" show the band at its best. "Gail Table for One" even blends in a touch of the Beatlesque. While it's clear that the Brothers are a true musical family, some of the production leaves several of the songs mining a similar vein. Still, touches of harmonica, Dobro and pedal steel lift the best of these songs out of the groove, and the Brothers' light-hearted touches are most welcome. At other times, you may wonder if you haven't heard some of this somewhere before. (9 Depot Road, Haydenville, Ma 01039, 413-268-7059)