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Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

Sonoran Hope and Madness – 2002 (EmmaJava)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

Back in the post-Kurt, pre-Britney days of the mid-'90s, Roger Clyne was lead singer of The Refreshments, a band best know for their party-ready, frat-anthem "Banditos" and the theme song to "King of the Hill." But MTV and modern rock radio stop caring and The Refreshments bit the dust after a few albums.

Arizona-native Clyne went on to form the more serious-minded Peacemakers, who released their debut, "Honky Tonk Union," in 1999. This, the band's third album - a live album was released last year - is a southwestern-influenced mix of blues, rock and country that honors and evokes the Sonoran desert Clyne calls home. The Peacemakers are capable musicians, and songs like "Colorblind Blues" and "Smaller and Better Things" are catchy and instantly likeable. At times, however, perhaps because of Clyne's too earnest raspy vocals ("The Ballad of Lupe Montosa," "Buffalo"), you think you're listening to "Bon Jovi: Live From the Lonely Desert."

Nevertheless, Clyne and the Peacemakers have enough songs heavy in passion ("Sleep Like a Baby") and humor ("Bury My Heart at the Trailer Park") to more thansatisfy.