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The Palominos

Come On In – 2013 (Randm)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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The Palominos don't break any new musical ground with "Come On In," but the soil tilled with this brief seven-song release is so fertile, listeners won't mind the sonic deja vu at all.

"No You Don't" vacillates between early George Jones and vintage Buck Owens. However, the drum-pounding "It Could Happen To Anyone" finds The Palaminos staking out a little territory of their own. Its beat hearkens back to swing era big band music, as much as classic country.

Lance Hawkins provides the twangy lead vocals, while Thomas Zurek offers stinging guitar lines and appropriate backing vocals, such as the high harmonies that spice up "You Provide the Heartbreak (I'll Provide the Wine)."

Songs like "Mr. Used To Be" are jukebox-ready, honky tonk drinking numbers - the kind they just don't seem to write any more. Today's country stars are more prone to celebrate their alcohol at a beach party, whereas yesterday's country artists weren't ashamed to drown their sorrows in song. There was a moral to these old stories, and beer-drinking was the consequence of heartbreak, rather than some kind of weekend young adult sporting event. Sure, you still hear country performers trying to drink away their troubles, but The Palominos know well how to capture the sorrow and shame of it all.

Just as some folks don't believe Detroit will ever improve on the classic cars they created decades ago, The Palominos are living proof of the belief, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'