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Sons of the San Joaquin

Way Out Yonder – 2006 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Sons of the San Joaquin

Western music is a disappearing genre. Artists like Riders In The Sky, Michael Martin Murphey and a select group of other musicians are working to keep the art form alive. The Sons Of The San Joaquin: Joe Hannah, brother Jack Hannah and son Lon Hannah, have been singing about cowboy life and the wide open spaces since the late 1980s. Roy Rogers once compared them to the Sons Of The Pioneers.

Unlike many western albums, the Sons wrote most of the material here. This is a treat, rather than just a re-working a lot of tired western warhorses.

The Sons have a powerful vocal presence, in spots reminiscent of a Southern gospel group. Their sound is authentic and their harmonies are not overstated. Favorites here include "The Lord In The Rolling Hills," "Ridin' Up the Glory Trail" and a cover of Tim Spencer's "There's A Rainbow Over The Range."

There's something infectious about western music. When done well, it can take you to another place and another time. This album shows their talent quite well. Ol' Roy was right, The Sons of the San Joaquin convey the spirit of the Old West as well as anyone.