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Jason Paulson

Crow River Ramble – 2016 (Campvervan Records)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Jason Paulson

Minnesota-based singer/songwriter Jason Paulson's "Crow River Ramble" is a mix of country, blues, rock and folk with mostly good results. Paulson is at his best on uptempo country rockers that allow him to display his lead guitar prowess such as "Cold In California" and the closing "Love That You Leave Behind," the latter ending in a disappointing fade out of Paulson's smoking solo.

The country influence is most evident on the Johnny Cash flavored "Home To You" and the opening "Bad Habits." One of the stronger compositions is the country ballad "Love," in which Paulson ponders the consequences of thoughtless expressions ("And when a fool's lips walk into a fight/Does he receive what his words invite?") and offers advice on how to respond ("So when a fool speaks to hear his voice/Find comfort that you made a choice/And walk the path you believe/Will lead you where you need to be").

"Long Way To Run" with a deceptively bouncy arrangement accompanying such ominous observations as "hiding behind the cocaine eyes" and "death coming to claim his prize," as well as the bluesy "Mysterious" also stand out. The one tune with somewhat sappy lyrics is the ballad "Can't Get Enough," but it does feature a nice soulful guitar solo from Paulson.

Paulson wrote all 12 songs produced by fellow Waconia, Minn. musician Jason Swensen. The music is driven by Paulson's impressive guitar work nicely supported by band mates Makai Catudio (bass), Bob Cavalleri (keyboards), Nate Burge (drums) and Swensen (percussion, strings). Despite the occasional misstep, this is an enjoyable listen.