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Longneck – 2000 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Scrimshanders

"A couple things about you make me feel like I have made a big mistake: the way you look when you're asleep, the way you look when you're wide awake," Scrimshanders front man and main songwriter John Magee sings on "Losing Streak."

Indeed, regret is a familiar theme throughout the debut release from this Massachusetts band. Magee's men are filled with "regret and sorry sighs" ("Tangled"), the sort that causes your "Bleeding Heart" to turn to "Cheap Wine and Nicotine" and to use a lot of colons and semicolons: You've been there; you know you have.

The Scrimshanders's sound takes a lot from the fiery spirit of a lot of other musicians with S in their name: the Stones, Steve Earle and Son Volt. But even when the country starts to really rock on "Longneck," the tenderness and sincerity behind these 13 songs still prevail. Imagine if on 1998's wonderful "Learning How to Live," Mike Ireland and Holler had played their guitars louder and brought the pedal steel way up front and said to hell with strings and such, and you may kind of, sort of get the idea. Songs like "So Long," "Dealers Choice" and "South by Midwest" are right ragged but right good, and "Longneck" is worth grabbing. (E-Mail:the )