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Bottle Rockets

Lean Forward – 2009 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Bottle Rockets

It would be a mistake to think of the Bottle Rockets as a formulaic band, but the group obviously knows that the band's marriage to producer Eric Ambel is a good one. Ambel helmed the band's stellar "24 Hours a Day" disc and he's on board again here. The energy is high throughout, the best examples being Nothing but a Driver and The Way It Used to Be. But where this disc is especially strong is in the writing and the matching of instrumentation in a way that best presents the material.

The lid-lifter, The Long Way, is easily the top tune. The song presents a positive spin about roads taken that weren't originally on life's map. In more ways than just a similar title it is remindful of Uncle Tupelo's The Long Cut. If Uncle Tupelo is still seen as ground zero for the alt.-country movement, and that will likely continue unabated, then the Bottle Rockets must be seen as the first floor in the structure of that genre.