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The Wilkinsons

Here and Now – 2000 (Giant)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by The Wilkinsons

Country music has a long-standing tradition of families making music together - the Carters, the Cashes, the Judds. And now The Wilkinsons, the Canadian father-daughter-son trio that hit Number One with the single "26" in 1998, try to add their names to that pantheon with their second CD.

It's obvious that this album is skewed toward the young country-pop crowd. Co-writers like Richie MacDonald from Lonestar and Robin Wiley, who has written for N-Sync, make that clear. Songs like the first single "Jimmy's Got a Girlfriend," "I'll Know Love" and the simple chronology lesson "(This Ain't) 1999" have very little to say to anyone whose acne has already cleared up. Even when they try for more mature themes, it comes out sounding like easy reader versions of grown-up songs, i.e. "Shame on Me" is "If Tomorrow Never Comes" translated for adolescents. But "Here And Now" does hit where the family was aiming. The Wilkinsons will probably cross over and enjoy pop success. The family connection is a great gimmick. They need to remember to keep their sights low, however. They aim for the Beatlesque on the song "Hypothetically" and do manage to recapture some of Ringo's ragged drumming, but none of John and Paul's lyric abilities.

Steve, Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson won't remind anyone of the Carter Family - or the Fab Four. The Cowsills maybe.