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The Parks

Born Into It – 2009 (Carolwood)

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips

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CDs by The Parks

Father and son duo The Parks may have the same blood in their veins, but don't expect the tight bluegrass-and-barbershop style harmonies so typical of other family groups. Instead, they divide their vocals with southern rock and blues mixture drizzled over with some country twang. They come across loud and passionate on every track. Most of that undoubtedly comes from years as a bar band north of Nashville. One club they played in changed names and management several times during the duo's tenure there, which proves that these two know about keeping a crowd and about perseverance.

Still, these guys seem to fit in more with the likes of Skynyrd, Van Zandt or Montgomery Gentry than with the heroes they sing about. While outlaws like Cash and Jennings sang about jail time, drinking, and riding the range, the Parks sing about partying and...singing. Midway through, the album becomes an ode to outlaw music and bucking today's pop-country, with songs like Born Into It, Sons of the Outlaws, and You Can't Take Away My Music, sandwiched together in the middle. The latter song is good and thumbs its nose against the country establishment in an everyday, common-man style: "You can take it off the radio/I'll head down to a honky tonk/Slip the band a $5 to play some Merle."

Like any good country-infused album, the rest is nothing but love - praising love, lacking love, coveting love and missing love. On That Ol' Blacktop, a lover gets set free, while on Where the Truth Lies, they reflect on the blessing and realness of a good mate and children. They Said it Wouldn't Last has single potential, smartly singing about a heartache that still lingers even when love is gone.

This duo comes across as honest and talented, passionate and rowdy. Most of all, they seem committed to their music, and that's where the truth lies.