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The Lonesome Strangers

Land of Opportunity – 1997 (Little Dog)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by The Lonesome Strangers

After a hiatus of several years, the Lonesome Strangers, Jeff Rymes and Steve Weeks, are back with a new album. The album's best cut, "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," contains some killer accordian, and shows how adept the Strangers are at taking traditional material and giving it a contemporary feel.

What really makes the Southern California band stand out are their vocal harmonies. Rymes and Weeks sound like the Everly Brothers with an edge. Cuts like "And It Hurts" and "Sharon" bear this out. They also turn in fine renditions of Steve Young's "Tobacco Road" and "Lingering Thing." The Strangers rely less on steel guitar and fiddle and more on electric guitar and uncluttered song arrangements with Pete Anderson and Dusty Wakeman producing.

Country radio is not likely to ever play the Lonesome Strangers since their music does not fit today's Hot New Country formula. But if you're a fan of West Coast, roots-based country music with a unique vocal sound, the Lonesome Strangers are worth finding.