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Common Ground

Wayward – 2019 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Common Ground

Within the first 30 seconds of the lead off track, "Bridges" you can tell Common Ground is filled with youthful exuberance. They bill themselves as a modern country outfit with a desire to entertain. On their high-energy up-tempo numbers like the bouncy "Trip The Light" and the equally danceable "Firewalk," the New York City sextet live up to their bill. They even managed to create a fun song about domestic discord comparing attraction to nicotine addiction on "Crave."

They list a bevy of contemporary country artists as influences, but leave out the most obvious comparison in their bio. Lead vocalist Christina Maida's voice bears a striking similarity to Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry mixed with the attitude of Alanis Morrisette. Likewise, "Hangman" and "Windows Shatter" feel like the TBP tunes "Chainsaw" and "Better Dig Two." There are hints of jam bands like Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons thanks to Justin Freidus' adept banjo picking and Eugene Armencha's guitar work. In a curious twist, they manage create a rhyme with the generic name for the drug Prozac in a song about a troubled 19 year old. Ironically, amid the levity is an effective dark and lonely ballad, "Where The Trains Don't Go" highlighted by Maida's haunting voice.

The bonus track "Plastic Chairs" is a comical throwaway filler that is nonetheless expletive laden fun that would work if Gretchen Wilson cut it. Appropriately, the album was made possible by 114 Kickstarter backers. A record deal would be a stretch, but if you're up for some feel-good fun, Common Ground's "Wayward"a safe bet.