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Hot Apple Pie

Hot Apple Pie

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Album Review

Hot Apple Pie is the latest stop on the long road for country journeyman Brady Seals. A nephew of Jim Seals (the Seals of Seals & Crofts) and country hitmaker Dan Seals, Brady got his first big break in the early '90s as a member of Little Texas, and he shepherded them through some big hits before leaving for a solo career halfway through the decade. After a couple of mainstream country albums, he had a rootsy independent release with Thompson Street in 2003, which featured Mark "Sparky" Matejka on lead guitar. Following that, Seals and Matejka hooked up with bassist Keith Horne and Trey Landry for Hot Apple Pie, whose 2005 eponymous debut is the opposite of Thompson Street. Released on Dreamworks Nashville and produced by Richard Landis, Hot Apple Pie is a big, slick, knowing contemporary country album that dabbles in a little bit of everything not just because the bandmembers can, but because they want to see what sticks. So, the album begins with the goofy novelty of "Hillbillies," which has a bit of the ironic proud-to-be-a-redneck vibe of Big & Rich (it surfaces again toward the end of the album with "Redneck Revolution," a slow bluesy crawl so contrived it makes the opener seem easy), then rolls into the bouncy retro country-pop of Al Anderson's "We're Makin' Up." Soon after that, the group dives into a slick power ballad with "The Good Life," before revamping the Band's classic "The Shape I'm In" as breakneck bluegrass, complete with alternating lead vocals, then hauling out Willie Nelson for a duet on "Slowin' Down the Fall." The latter two moves, along with the Rodney Crowell co-written "Annabelle (Arkansas Is Callin' You)," indicate that Hot Apple Pie have good taste, serious chops, and genuine credentials as pure country musicians, smart enough to know not just what makes for good country music, but smart enough to know what makes it onto country radio. And that's the problem with their album — half of it is really good, smart, fun country, the other half is pandering to the whims of radio, whether it's on the aforementioned "Hillbillies" or such lumbering midtempo numbers as "Everybody Wants to Dance With My Baby." The rest of the album doesn't just prove that Hot Apple Pie are better than those tunes, but that they know that they're slumming it with songs like these. Hopefully, one of the stronger songs here will be Hot Apple Pie's breakthrough hit and then, on their next record, they'll loosen up and deliver the loose yet sharp modern country album that this appealing but muddled debut suggests they can make.

Customer Reviews

Classic

This album is the best country album I've listened to in a long time. The songs are clever, the musicianship is unmatched, and the harmonies are flawless. If you want the real deal then Hot Apple Pie has got what you need. They're the most powerful four piece band to ever come out of Nashville, hands down!

Some highlights

Hillbillies is a hot song (despite the snotty professional reviewer), and you can't fault the musicianship on this album. But after The Good Life (a fun, sunny song) and Easy Does It (a slow bluesy song with a nice chorus), the rest of the album seems flat. This might be an album better appreciated over time, but in the early going it comes across as two great songs with a supporting cast.

Incredibly talented

These guys are really incredible. I just got back from the Kenny Chesney Carribean Cruise where I got to see them perform 2 different shows. They are polished, and very talented musicians whose music blends well with each other. The first show was almost like a private party with a lot of shouting and dancing. Fun hour & a half. The next night, without a dance floor, their performance was more like a concert. But just as fun. I got to meet Sparky by the pool and he reiterated what I had suspected, that each was an experienced musician having played with other bands and just gravitated towards each other to build something new. I expect a lot more good music out of these guys over the next few years.

Biography

Formed: 2002

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

Formed in 2002 by established singer/songwriter Brady Seals, Hot Apple Pie's distinctly diverse rendering of country, pop, and R&B carries with it a pedigree for success. Seals, a touring musician since the age of 16, shares the blood of numerous industry heavyweights, including Jimmy Seals of Seals & Crofts, songwriters Troy and Chuck Seals, as well as country star Dan Seals. From 1991 to 1995 he toured and recorded with the band Little Texas, scoring a Grammy nomination for the song "Amy's...
Full Bio
Hot Apple Pie, Hot Apple Pie
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