From the opening strains of "Pianola," one would think that Little Rock, Ark.'s finest traditional country band The Salty Dogs underwent a musical transplant and become a classical music group. No such worry because they kick hard with the very next song, "Starting now" featuring Elvis drummer DJ Fontana setting the beat, and lead singer Brad Williams lending his soft, heartfelt vocals.
It only gets better from there on the Dogs' third release. The dozen songs are well put together with enough diversity (reverb on "Step right up" and the acoustic based "Holding to my Lord") to keep it real interesting. Nick Devlin provides sharp guitar licks throughout.
Williams, who wrote most of the songs, is the guiding light with his vocals at the fore. He recalls Dwight Yoakam a bit without the hiccups. He easily infuses the songs ("The people cried" and "Step right up") with the proper sense of emotion and sadness if need be.
No worry about The Salty Dogs going for classical music. Instead, they make mighty fine classical country music.