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Thompson Brothers Band

Blame It on the Dog – 1998 (RCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Thompson Brothers Band

After the Thompson Brothers' fabulous 1996 debut EP, the wait was on for the full-length follow-up, and this album is no disappointment.

The trio from Massachusetts focus on roots/country-rock instrumentals with unmistakably country lyrics on uptempo songs like the jangly "Don't Mind If I Do," the fresh tale of young love in a small town "Run Away With You," and the chugging "Broken for Good." That song also reveals another dimension to the band's sound - beautiful high harmonies - that becomes even more apparent on the gorgeous slow song, "A Million Miles Away." Its aching, understated beauty makes it one of the album's standouts. And if you can judge a band by the company it keeps, this album's closer, Willie Nelson's "Pick Up the Tempo," which Steve Earle sings as a duet with Andy Thompson, speaks volumes about the Thompson Brothers.

They write most of their own songs and play their own instruments, and they've got an exciting, unique sound - in short, they have all the characteristics that radio programmers hate but fans love.