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Rock n Roll Saloon

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Album Review

This self-described rock & roll poet has a lot in common with obvious influences like Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle, but John Fogerty comes to mind during "One Step." The song is a steady rocker, despite some over-the-top vocals during the bridge. Toeing the line between roots rock and country, Ubaldini seems to do more when he's doing less, particularly on "The Vulture." Drummer Mick Wieland serves as timekeeper for the album, resulting in an airtight rhythm section. When Ubaldini reaches down for more vocally, he has touches of Springsteen but occasionally the sound of an '80s hair band's lead singer. "Tears of a Lonesome Train" raises the quality bar quite a bit, a number with far more twang in it. The group tends to push the envelope as the record progresses toward an edgier, less polished direction. And it's all for the better. The conclusion of "Only Wishful Thinkin'" is a perfect example of this looser arrangement. A few barbs at the corporate music industry during "Diamond Eyes" has similarities to Elvis Costello in its tone. "A Storm's A-Comin'" sets the standard for the record with its roots flavor and Keith Richards riff. Two exceptions from the fold is the '50s rock feeling oozing from "Last Bus to Seattle." Consistency is a given for Ubaldini, as each track could stand on its own. "If I Was Without You" is an obligatory ballad, but even this reeks of quality songwriting. The Dylanesque closing track only reinforces that fact Ubaldini is one of the more underrated talents around.

Rock n Roll Saloon, Michael Ubaldini
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