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Long About That Time

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Album Review

As it turns out, New Jersey working-class angst doesn't have to come out sounding like Bruce Springsteen; not only do Bob and Mike Delevante look like genuine Middle American heartland country-rockers (what with Mike's Danelectro and Bob's bowling shirt), they sound like the genuine article, too (what with Mike's pedal steel licks and Bob's overpronounced Rs). Maybe you think boys from a nice Italian family have no business writing songs with titles like "I Wish I Were a Cowboy" and "Pocketful of Diamonds." If so, here are two words for you: Joe Val. If not, then you'll have no problem with the fact that this album was recorded in Nashville with E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent behind the board, and you'll be prepared for some truly winsome songwriting and singing from a musical team whose sweet harmonies and better than average lyrics will make you feel like you're 20 years old, unemployed, and in love all over again. At their best, the Delevantes tap into themes that are stereotypical not because they're easy, but because they're timeless: "Big Love" is a perfect song, an ode to a happy marriage embedded in roots-country fusion with just the right boogie inflection. "It's a Living" is a classic 12-bar blue-collar anthem that achieves effortlessly what Huey Lewis never did in all his years of trying. And even if "A Little Bit of Heaven" errs on the side of obviousness (first two lines: "Don't you know that life/Can be very hard"), "I Wish I Were a Cowboy" hits the target perfectly with the pitch-perfect plaint of a restless urbanite whose grammar is better than his girlfriend's ("I wish I were a cowboy/She says I wish you was one too"). This disc is a perfectly fine debut album from an impressive young band.


Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s

With Everly Brothers-like vocal harmonies set to hard-edged, roots-oriented arrangements, the Delevantes created some of the most exciting music of the late '90s. Their second album, Postcards From Along the Way, was produced by E Street Band bassist Gary Tallant, who joined the Delevantes on tour, and featured Benmont Trench of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers on keyboards. The sons and grandsons of General Motors workers, Bob and Mike Delevante created a formidable collaboration. Playing guitars...
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Long About That Time, The Delevantes
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