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The Illegitimate Sons

American Music – 2012 (CDBY)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by The Illegitimate Sons

The self-released debut of Fort Wayne, Ind. based country-rockers The Illegitimate Sons shows the influence Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and The Band. The influence of Cash is evident not only in their sound, particularly with the shuffling Where You'll Hide From My Blooded Eyes, but also with the dark themes of most tracks.

Among them is murder, which is visited in the haunting Burn You to the Ground ("I will burn you to the ground/I will make my home upon your ashes"), as well as in the ballad Wholesaler ("Someone tell my enemy I'd kill him had I seen him/Now it ain't in me to feel his blood running").

The harmony style of The Band is strong throughout, particularly on Gillian and Bleed It Dry. The Dylan influence is strongest on Janene, which uses the same rhyme of "bluff" and "enough" that Dylan used in Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, and the social commentary of Television Mama which laments the state of the medium ("Don't hesitate to confide your radiation mind/Of the trials inherent in all your wasted time").

The focal point is lead singer and songwriter Lee Miles (guitar, banjo, piano, harmonica) who is nicely supported by band mates Ben Porter (electric guitar, mandolin), Kyle Morris (pedal steel, backing vocals), Brett Gilpin (organ, drums), Jon Ross (drums) and Andy Paquette (bass guitar). Guest vocalist Sunny Taylor joins Miles for the duet I'll Go Where You Go , which is sweetly sentimental with a touch of the darkness that pervades the album ("I will go where you go/I will bleed when you bleed").