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The Stumbleweeds

Pickin' and Sinnin' – 2001 (Rawk)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by The Stumbleweeds

Boston-area rockabilly/country outfit The Stumbleweeds have released a mixed bag of uptempo, but lyrically unremarkable foot-stompers, sardonically clever duets, and cryin'-in-your-beer slow numbers. The band is made up of current and former members of the Speed Devils, the Country Bumpkins, the Racketeers and the Magdelenes.

Even when the lyrics and the melody seem only to be standard neo-rockabilly fare, the pickin' is clean and complex; Tom Umberger on lead guitar and Red Soares on pedal steel make it sound effortless too. Kimberly Rullo on drums and Hot Carl on double bass provide a solid bottom line. The most interesting numbers are the slow ones, when lead singer Lynette Lenker has the opportunity to leisurely exercise her elastic vocal cords. Most numbers are penned by the boys in the band, and the drunken man's lament - in "When You're Finally Done Drinkin'" and "One More Beer, One More Tear," for example - is all the more compelling when sung from a woman's point of view. Lenker shares the vocals a couple times with Soares; "The Marriage Song," written by Umberger, is a funny, most unsentimental duet on love gone sour. On Wanda Jackson's "Wasted," one of the few covers, Lenker's voice effectively conveys all the introspective sadness in the lyrics. ( E-Mail: stumbleweeds@aol.com, 724-845-4669)