Nashville-based Pinmonkey have generated quite a bit of enthusiasm from their local shows, and the release of their debut gives a chance to hear what the fuss is about. The sound rests on lead singer Michael Reynolds high tenor, backed by ace drummer Rick Schell's "soprano" harmonies and features Chad Jeffers (his brother Michael plays bass) skillful dobro and lap-steel work. Pinmonkey update the Poco-paradigm with a more directly pop-rock approach.
Four of the record's 10 songs are written by Reynolds, and "Black Train," with dobro flourishes from Jeffers and strong backing harmonies from Schell, is the strongest of the bunch. Reynolds, whose voice is exciting at first but a little monochromatic over the course of the record, particularly shines on the band's sensitive cover of Gwil Owen's "Augusta." The rendition of the Duane Jarvis/Joy Lynn White co-write "Love Sometimes" is another high point, and the opening track, a high-spirited version of the Carter Family's "Lonesome Pine Special," makes it easy to see what had folks talking in the Music City. (1018 17th Ave. South, #12, Nashville, TN 37212)