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Texas to Tennessee

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Album Review

For every major pop star, it seems, there are a dozen (if not a dozen dozen) essentially similar artists who don't achieve the same level of success. Bob Cheevers is a veteran singer/songwriter who has been plying his trade for decades, since he moved from Memphis, TN, to Los Angeles, CA, and ended up in the Peppermint Trolley Company, which provided the theme song to the late-'60s/early-'70s TV series Love, American Style. Since then, Cheevers has worked primarily in the field of commercial jingles while also writing and recording his own songs. Texas to Tennessee well illustrates his influences. First, there is his voice, which is a dead ringer for Willie Nelson's reedy tenor, that is, if Willie Nelson sang on the beat. Cheevers has expressed his admiration for Jackson Browne and Neil Young (the Neil Young of "Heart of Gold," that is), and you can hear that admiration in the country-inflected folk-rock arrangements of his songs. As a songwriter, however, he is more beholden to the Southwest tradition of Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, and especially Guy Clark, turning out story-songs in which he reminisces about a rural Southern past and celebrates a variety of locations connected by cars and highways: Savannah, Texas, Tennessee, Memphis, and Amarillo, just to cite the ones in the song titles. Cheevers is unquestionably talented, but he is also highly derivative. And that's the reason that, like those dozens and dozens of artists who sound like much bigger stars (or combinations of them), he remains known best to industry insiders and the fans who have picked up on him through his performances.

Biography

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s

Contemporary folk singer/songwriter Bob Cheevers was born and raised in Memphis; relocating to California after graduating college, he landed a solo deal with Dot Records, soon after resurfacing as the frontman of the bubblegum group Peppermint Trolley Company. Though scoring a minor hit with "Baby You Come Rollin' Across My Mind" and issuing a self-titled LP on Acta in 1968, the band was perhaps best known for performing the theme songs for the hit television comedies Love, American Style and (during...
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Texas to Tennessee, Bob Cheevers
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