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Davis Raines

Big Shiny Cars – 1998 (Crossfield)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Davis Raines

Singer/songwriter Davis Raines could just as easily be called the Lost Outlaw, because he fits perfectly into the same mold as such country legends as Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard on his stellar debut.

Music Row described Raines' music best as "song noir." Just a look at the list of tracks - "Working Homicide," "Hell For Breakfast," "Limestone Chain," and "Last Hard Man in Elmore County" - lets you know these are hard songs about hard living and doing hard time. Raines explores the darkest parts of mens' lives with a grit and steely edge that rings authentic. Maybe that's partly because he knows whereof he sings, having previously had a career in law enforcement, including a stint in charge of Death Row at an Alabama prison. Working in that kind of environment provided Raines with the insight into the human condition to write the kind of songs that paint such vivid pictures that you can't get them out of your head. You feel the desperation of the convicts on the chain gang or the nihilism of the jaded homicide detective, with a depth that's chilling. This is a powerful debut. Law enforcement's loss is undoubtedly country's gain!