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The Starline Rhythm Boys

Red's Place – 2007 (Cow Island)

Reviewed by Brian T. Atkinson

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CDs by The Starline Rhythm Boys

Few think of Vermont as a hot destination for old-school country music. The Starline Rhythm Boys have set out to redefine that perception. In fact, the heart of this 14-song deep travelogue starts beating near San Antonio's dusty Floore's Country Store and ends around midnight on the Saturday night stage at Austin's venerable Broken Spoke.

Put another way, this is real-deal country music, folks - only, improbably, straight from New England. It's right there in the titles: "No Gal Cooks Like Mine," "Drunk Tanks" and "Sin & Salvation," among them. And thanks to the skilled trio's impeccable musicianship - it really doesn't get much tighter than Danny Coane (guitar), Big Al Memery (Telecaster) and Billy Bratcher (slap-string bass) - the band could stand next to some of the Lone Star state's best.

The most glorious tune in an album full of gems is "I'm Fed Up with Drinking Here": "I'm fed up with drinking here," lead vocalist Coane sings. "The new bartender don't care about my woes/He pours flat beer and says that's the way it goes/I'm gonna move my booze career to a place that's more sincere/'Cause I'm fed up with drinking here." Sounds like time for another round.