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One Riot One Ranger

Faces Made For Radio – 1997 (Fundamental)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by One Riot One Ranger

While other acts have mixed elements of bluegrass and the singing cowboy tradition before, few have done so as recently - or as convincingly - as One Riot, One Ranger.

A five-piece group from Ohio, fans of the Sons of the Pioneers and Riders In the Sky will find much to cheer about in the group's three- and four-part harmonies and western themes, particularly on tracks like "Adios My Amigo" and "Cowboy Lullabye." Bluegrass fans will also be on solid, familiar ground with the group's instrumental prowess. It's hard to find fault with the group's songwriting abilities - largely handled by fiddle player/mandolinist/vocalist Chas Williams - and the album's four covers (including the Delmore Brothers' oft-covered "Blues Stay Away From Me" and a decidedly odd version of Pere Ubu's "Cloud 149") are well-chosen.

While 1996 was a banner year for debut albums by any standard, don't let "Faces Made For Radio" get lost in the crowd.