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Jonny Kaplan

California Heart – 2000 (Ripe)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Jonny Kaplan

Jonny Kaplan serves up Neil Young by way of NRBQ with this helping of countrified guitar stomps leavened with a pop sensibility. Take the lead track, "Big Ol' Bob." Left to simpler devices, Kaplan might be content to let his guitar and Michael Stipesque drawl take care of business. Not so. Vocals from Ken Stringfellow, the former Posie and backup to a reconstitued Big Star, elevate this selection above a mere country-rock excercise.

"Written In Stone" brings a little fuzz and funk into the mix as Kaplan protests the world's "silly ways." And then "Pocket Fulla Nickels" brings things into Gram Parsons territory until the keyboards takes it in a different direction. Wallflowers keyboardist Rami Jaffee and well-known drummer Don Heffington lend help as well to what might be a well-needed country-fried look at Los Angeles. A nice foot forward. (7510 Sunset Blvd., #147, Los Angeles, CA 90046)