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Confederate Railroad

Keep On Rockin' – 1998 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Confederate Railroad

You couldn't accuse Confederate Railroad's long time in between new albums as being caused by the search for strong material. Or hopefully not. That's the problem here. The most obvious example is about as dumb a song as you're likely to hear on a country disc this year is "I Hate Rap." Of course, it's a rap song. Not a very good one.

And then there's the cover of Steve Earle's "Good Ol' Boy (Getting Tough.)" While generally strong elsewhere on the 10 song disc ("'Tween Sunday Morning and Saturday Night" and "A Bible and a Bus Ticket Home"), lead singer Danny Shirley is no match whatsoever for Earle. There's no grit, feeling of having lived it in his voice. Sonically, it's purposefully souped up to be catchy.

Not to mention "The Big One" about passing gas in church. No kidding.And there is precious little that goes beyond what the Railroad has done on previous albums, including references to "mama" and "daddy." It's still a mixture of Southern rock meets Alabama.

That would be okay if only the band had something new to say musically or lyrically.