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Album Review

With the exception of the leadoff instrumental title track with some quietly frazzled guitar, Sonny consists of nothing but covers or reinterpretations of older standards. The end result, a quick, half-hour long effort, is at once a fantastic homage to many of Souled American's inspirations and further proof of the band's unique, wonderful abilities. Admittedly, the near-exclusive country focus of Sonny's songs leaves out a lot of what makes Souled American Souled American, but it's the band's choice and nobody else's. Ironically enough the album wasn't released in America itself the first time through, just in the U.K., showing once again there's little musical justice in the world. The general pace and feel matches Around the Horn's understated atmosphere, while there's enough in the way of unexpected touches — Adducci's suddenly prominent bass here, a cutting guitar there — to show that the group's adventurous spirit remains. Crigoroff's vocals understandably suit the proceedings well, with just a touch more twang showing up here than on Around. Standouts are plentiful, the choices quite apt. "Please Don't Let Me Love You," made famous by Hank Williams, gets a particularly strong rendition, quietly flanged guitar lines sneaking around the mix as the tale of romance gone wrong gets told again. John Prine's "If You Don't Want My Love" is another winner, with evocative space left in the arrangement, while the Louvin Brothers' "Changin' the Words" gets a lovely, spare performance and solid harmonizing to boot. Adducci's mother contributes another song, the gently swinging "Not Over," featuring some piercing guitar at points, and the always grand "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" gets a good, slightly raspy take. Three traditional numbers get the treatment here, all being quite fine, including a quietly haunting "Buck Dancer's Choice" and a fun "Rock That Cradle Lucy."


Formed: Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Chicago roots rockers Souled American pioneered the alternative country movement of the early '90s before the music boasted either a name or a fan following. Even as kindred spirits like Uncle Tupelo began making commercial inroads, Souled American slipped through the cracks following the demise of its record label, and still today the band's true influence on a successive generation of bands remains sorely undervalued. Singer/guitarist Chris Grigoroff and singer/bassist Joe Anducci formed Souled...
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Sonny, Souled American
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