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Lonesome Jukebox

Add A Little Twang – 2002 (Plymouth Rock)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Lonesome Jukebox

Lonesome Jukebox is a Plymouth, Mass.-based septet consisting of Mark Bryant, Nathan Johnson, Doug Lowry, Paul Nixon, Michael Skinner, the enigmatic A.J., and Cajun Bob Wilson. Larded with promising songwriters, these enthusiastic purveyors of western swing, rockabilly, zydeco and country haven't quite figured out how to capture their hybrid style in the recording studio.

There are some bright spots on this frequently danceable 12-song debut. The peppy "Go Boy Go!" exhibits top-notch steel and lead guitar from Johnson. Wilson's piano and a raunchy rhythm guitar light a fire underneath the humorous "Let's Get Liquored up" and "Wild, Wild Women" is smartly refitted with a Bob Willis sound complete with a Tommy Duncan "Ah-ha." The set's most appealing performance comes via a cover of Big Sandy's "I Can't Believe I'm Saying This To You,' which boasts a James Burton Ricky Nelson-era guitar solo and some clattering rock piano.

However, the band features four alternating vocalists when only one seems up to the job. The sound is dry and thin, and a fruity sax unhinges some of the better rockers. Lonesome Jukebox has the chops and the tunes; they just need studio savvy. Lonesome Jukebox