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Mark Jungers & the Whistling Mules

One For the Crow – 2004 (American Rural)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Mark Jungers & the Whistling Mules

For a Minnesota native, Mark Jungers has a stylized twang that makes him sound like a true son of the South on his third album with the Whistling Mules.

Since the mid-'80s, Jungers has plied his folky/country trade in locales as disparate as Connecticut and Texas and his style is every bit as broad as his geographical range. Musically, Jungers taps into his upper Midwest roots for his folk side ("We Talk," "Walking Down the Road," where he slyly nods to a certain Hibbing resident with a lyrical reference to his "big brass bed") and his voluminous Texas collegiate-band experience for his country flavor ("Just Can't Wait," "You Left the First Time").

Vocally, Jungers is a fascinating (and in all likelihood, unintentional) blend of styles, ranging from hillbilly versions of Jon Bon Jovi ("Won't Be Long") and Jimmy Buffett ("Learned By Now") to a more country-steeped T-Bone Burnett ("Deep in My Heart"). As a songwriter, Jungers understands the subtle difference between musical convention and cliche, and uses the former to create songs and a sound that are familiar without being derivative.(512-357-6160, Mark Jungers