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The Shootouts

Quick Draw – 2019 (MRI)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by The Shootouts

Don't be fooled by the band name, album title or cover art. This is not a collection of cowboy gunfight songs, but a diverse mix with elements of mainstream '50s/'60s country, western swing and alternative country. Frontman Ryan Humbert's delivery on the uptempo cover of Tim Carroll's "If I Could" recalls Leroy Van Dyke's "The Auctioneer" with a scorching solo from lead guitarist Brian Poston, while on Shel Silverstein's "Alimony" Humbert channels both George Hamilton IV and Buck Owens.

Humbert also contributes some solid originals as with "Who Needs Rock and Roll," which extols the virtue of western swing ("Just don't forget the golden rule/Bob Wills is still the king") and the weeper "Lonely Never Lets Me Down" ("These days it comes and goes, I'm barely getting by/But the only friend I need, is with me for life") reminiscent of Robbie Fulks. There are also effective collaborations with Kim Richey ("California to Ohio") and steel guitarist Alan Moss ("Losing Faith in Being Faithful") from the Akron, Ohio-based band.

Moss kicks in with three solo compositions as well including the mournful ballad "I'd Rather Be Lonely" ("Reservation for one, at a table for two/Nobody's talking, or blocking my view"). Other highlights demonstrate the versatility of the band as with the sweet harmonies by Humbert and Emily Bates on Marc Lee Shannon's "If We Quit Now" and Stacey Earle/George Ducas' "Must Be Love," to the high energy of "Reckless Abandon" and the instrumental title track that spotlight lead guitarist Poston's hot licks.

Produced by Luca Benedetti and Jim Campilongo (Zephiniah Ohora), The Shootouts impress.