Craig Fuller has had a well-traveled career. He was an original member of Pure Prairie League and the foundation for their early '70s country pop hits (including the classic and still fresh "Amie"), a critical hit in his duo with Eric Kaz and orchestrated the second successful phase of Little Feat.
Fuller comes full circle with the reunification of Pure Prairie League and the release of the classically tinged and completely satisfying new CD. Fuller, original bassist Mike Reilly and early keyboardist Michael Connor (who sadly passed away from cancer two years ago) reassembled the heart of PPL, and it is that '70s country rock heart that beats so proudly throughout.
From the rock twang jangle of upbeat shakers and movers like the opener, "Gettin' Over You," "Don't Go Confessing Your Love" and "That Changes Everything Again" to gentler melancholy pop reflections like "I Sure Do Miss You Now" and "Meant to Be," PPL sounds as vital and vibrant as they did in their "Bustin' Out"/"Two Lane Highway" days. And much of the credit has to be reserved for Fuller, who co-wrote the hell out of 10 of the 12 songs.
There aren't many bands with a 30-plus year history (some of which includes the contributions of a young Vince Gill) that can recapture the heart-pounding energy and heart-rending beauty of their earliest triumphs. Pure Prairie League does it almost effortlessly here, an unlikely but potent entry for one of the year's best albums. (1018 17th Ave S, Suite 12, Nashville TN 37212, 615-320-8700)