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National Grain

National Grain – 2006 (Old Wheat)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by National Grain

A lot of what passes for country music these days is really just sparkly pop music dressed down in calico and jeans and twanged up with fiddles and pedal steels. National Grain has nothing in common with that superficial fashion pose. On their self-titled, full-length, the follow-up to their acclaimed five-song EP, the Atlanta quintet plays unmistakable country music, whether the guitars are turned up to alt.-rock levels for maximum effect ("Some Kind of Devil," "Norfolk Southern Line") or muted and combined with traditional banjo/pedal steel support ("High Country Twilight," "Why Don't You Ever Call Me on the Phone?").

National Grain is unapologetically informed and influenced by the bedrock foundation of the authentic country of George Jones and yet is completely unafraid to apply that influence to the kind of raucous roadhouse rock that is typically presented behind chicken wire. As a result, National Grain offers a wonderful synthesis of country and rock that celebrates the commonalities and differences of both genres without blurring the lines of either. (