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The Salty Dogs

The Salty Dogs and Friends – 2004 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by The Salty Dogs

The Salty Dogs

From Little Rock, Ark., and damn proud of it, the Salty Dogs present a liquor-drenched and heartache-heavy dose of retro honky tonk on their nifty full-length debut.

As the title implies, the band gets plenty of help from its hometown pals, who represent Little Rock well. It only takes a few songs, specifically the bluegrass influenced "Comfort and Rest," to learn that lead singer and main songwriter Brad Williams has listened to his fair share of Dwight Yoakam records. That's not a bad thing at all, and Williams, who plays guitar in the Little Rock roots rock/power pop band Big Silver, proves that he has plenty of talent to match his good taste in music. He shines on songs like the deceptively simple "Let's Try Again," a duet with Amy Garland, and "Outcast," a hoot of a tune about a man "wearing horned rimmed glasses and a three-piece suit and a bow tie just for spite" on which Williams plays all the instruments. The rest of the Dogs, who Williams borrowed from Garland's band, show plenty of skills and just the right touch throughout.

The Salty Dogs' dynamite debut might look backward to country music's past, but it sure leaves you looking forward to hearing more from this talented band in the future.