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The Nitpickers

Nitpickers – 2000 (Rustic)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by The Nitpickers

After the first couple lines of "Walk Alone": "Grew up while my dad was in prison / cuz he sold a bag of weed to a cop. Mama always knew how to have a good time / but she never knew how to stop" and you know what label head Dave Insley means when he says that the Nitpickers make "good music for bad people." No doubt the music's good - clever, witty lyrics, virtuoso picking, especially on the mandolin and the dobro. As for those bad people, well, not all of them turn out as tragic as mournful bass narrator on "Walk Alone." They know how to love ("Heart So True"; "Calling You My Baby"), and they know when it's over ("Borrowed Time") and they know how to have fun ("Tunnel Road" where "white trash burn their garbage" and somebody's always looking for a fight.)

One way to have fun if you're not lucky enough to actually be white trash is to listen to the Nitpickers. The sheer joy they're experiencing doing what they do is palpable and infectious, whether they're singing about heartbreak ("Big Heart") or nothing but nonsense ("Roy Boy"). The only real flaw in this debut is the album cover, which is the undoubtedly the ugliest one to come along in some time, an inappropriate introduction to the lovely music inside.