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John Train

Looks Like Up – 2001 (Record Cellar)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by John Train

John Train's 12-song collection may set toes a-tapping with an interesting mix of guitar, lap steel, dobro, mandolin and piano - and John Houlon's foreboding voice. These aren't simple songs, mind you, but complex dramas tied together with lyrics about regrets and what-could've-beens. Houlon's reedy pipes might be paired with a deeper counterpart to ramp up the drama in some of these selections. Nevertheless, when the band gets a head of steam going, the results are worth several listens. "Misery Loves Company," accompanied by what sounds like a loose swing combo, moves especially nicely. "Cracked and Crumbled" lopes along as the narrator takes aim at a lost love.

While John Train might benefit from better production, this makes a nice choice for a warm night when the wind blows along.