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The Curse – 2003 (Aaron Ave.)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Speedtrucker

Imagine Conway Twitty backed by the Charlie Daniels Band, and you'll have an idea of the sound of Dallas-based alt.-country rockers Speedtrucker.

Lead singer and primary songwriter Michael Cox replicates Twitty's growl nicely, though the instrumentation has a harder edge than anything Twitty ever recorded. Several popular country music themes are visited as well. "I Don't Think That I Drank" is a comical drinking tune in which the singer is gradually reminded of unfortunate events from the night before which he had previously blacked out. Similarly the amusingly disturbing "Poor Irene" is a tune about a murdered lover which reveals little remorse from the killer.

"Someone To Leave Behind" is a tune of life on the road and missing the woman left at home, while "Hard Livin'" presents the opposite view of a man who prefers the "life of a rambling man" with no obligations. Other apparent influences are Waylon Jennings ("Move Along"), Dwight Yoakam ("Bitch") and the Rolling Stones (with the Keith Richards style guitar riff in "Hard Living").

This third release by Speedtrucker is the first to feature all original material. Cox's vocals are well supported throughout by the three-piece band of Josh Davis (guitar), Kirk Richardson (bass) and David Mitchell (drums). With this offering of what Cox calls "high velocity honky-tonk" Speedtrucker's latest should appeal to fans of traditional and alternative country. (331 Aaron Ave., #139, Arlington, TX 76012; 817-274-5010)