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Beauty Angel Queen – 1999 (Stationwagon)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Wagon

This is not a CD that has to grow on you. From first listen, Wagon's third album is pleasing from beginning to end. Recorded and fine-tuned across the country and over the course of more than a year, and featuring 17 musicians, the finished product still almost manages to sound as if it were recorded one wonderfully quiet and lazy afternoon by good friends.

Drummer Danny Kathriner and guitarist Ben Davis' tender, heartfelt vocals are supported with wonderful melodies powered by mandolin, pedal steel, fiddle, piano and even horns. The title track is country pop at its best bittersweet lyrics, harmony vocals, a melody you can hum on first listen. "2 Proud 2 Bend" and "Ours to Find" follow similar paths as "Beauty Angel Queen." "Amends" and "Still Amazed" are sleepy-eyed and reflective, quietly beautiful. But despite the immediate satisfaction the album provides, it only gets better with repeated listens. (Wagon, 718-852-0778)