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Little Country Giants

Dead Reckoning – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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The northern Georgia-based Little Country Giants' "Dead Reckoning" is an eclectic mix of country, folk and bluegrass. Fronted by husband and wife singing/songwriting duo Russell Cook and Cameron Federal, the sound is equally authentic whether the approach is traditional or relatively modern.

Federal is particularly impressive with the country swing of "I Can't Breathe," reminiscent of Patsy Montana's "I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" though with decidedly less sentimental lyrics ("I don't wanna see you/Don't wanna hold you/Don't wanna be your baby anymore"). Similarly the sweet vintage sound of "Mean Girls" masks a deceptively dark theme ("Mean girls drink their wine and smash you with their cup").

Several songs by Cook reveal the influence of more recent indie folk acts. The opening folk rocker "Party Till You Fall" has a Lumineers feel to it, while the ballad "Spark in the Dark" recalls Mumford and Sons. Cook also has a retro country feel on "I Will Always Be Around" and "Whiskey."

Stronger tracks are "Alright To Be Wrong" and "Morning Time," which spotlight the smooth harmonies of the duo. Federal's sweet vocals are particularly strong on the haunting "Melody Into the Ground" and "Just A Little Bit," though both also employ sound effects that are a bit distracting.

Recorded at their farmhouse in Georgia and produced by longtime collaborator Dax Rossetti, the duo is augmented by Michael Smith (mandolin) and Colin Agnew (percussion). With strong compositions, pleasant vocals and stellar performances "Dead Reckoning" should appeal to devotees of traditional country and indie folk.