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CD Review: The Crossroads Band 

click to enlarge Independent, 2008
  • Independent, 2008

Tony Merando can sing. Man, can he sing. He exhibits flashes of Dwight Yoakam and Raul Malo, yet retains his own identity. And the rest of the Dutchess County-based Crossroads Band performs at his level, providing perfect mainstream country backup with flashy but not overdone solos from guitarist Ben Ribble. The question remains, though, if the songs are quite up to the treatment they receive. Composers Merando and keyboardist Claude LeHenaff have, if anything, a surfeit of melodic hooks—any one of these tunes would sound great on the radio. Unfortunately, cliche is piled atop cliche, leaving many selections on this six-song EP lacking lyrically.

“Crazy For Loving” and “Heartbroke and Busted,” both of which benefit from the excellent guest fiddling of Dave Mason, scream with hooks as long as one doesn’t concentrate on the words. “Take That Ride” comes closer to the mark, but—with verses about losing a job and choruses about riding a horse—still misses somehow lyrically. “Red Hot Woman” veers from the country tack by going full-tilt rockabilly and it succeeds on all fronts, lyrically as well as musically, by—oddly enough—staying true to formula.

The bones are here for a great little record, but the Crossroads Band should strive to make its lyrics match the high quality of its music.

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