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The Linemen

Reconsider – 2009 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Linemen

Fresh on the heels of the release of this sophomore record by St. Louis band The Lineman comes news that the group has broken up due to the relocation of primary singer and songwriter Kevin Butterfield to Montreal. That isn't the best way to promote a record, obviously, but if this one gets consigned to oblivion because of it, more's the pity.

Butterfield and his colleagues have come up with another batch of traditional-leaning country that, with a single exception (the shuffling Easier), foregoes the uptempo honky-tonk side of things for the sad and slow. (It's Been) Three Days and You Stole Kansas City are mid-tempo, folky bits of misery built on interesting conceits; The One brings the blues; the title track is built on slow and stately piano and Dust and Despair on mournful steel. Static Cling exudes classic country-rock moan (as does the band's credible cover of Hot Burrito #1), and the gorgeous Love You At All features just Butterfield's singing and acoustic guitar.

The album lags in places and shows a band with room to grow; apparently that isn't going to happen, but while this may be the end of the line for The Linemen, they're going out on a good note.