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What Did You Expect?

Dusty and the LoveNotes

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Album Review

Sometimes, a CD's front and back covers and artwork tell you very little about the music involved. But other times, they tell you a lot about the music involved, and that is definitely the case with Dusty & the LoveNotes' debut album, What Did You Expect? The CD's artwork indicates that singer/songwriter Dusty Recor and her band the LoveNotes are offering some type of roots music, and sure enough, What Did You Expect? favors an earthy roots rock/Americana/country-rock approach — albeit with a Caribbean edge on some of the tunes. One usually doesn't think of roots rock, Americana, or country-rock as having a Caribbean influence, but Recor obviously has a thing for the Caribbean; in fact, the opening track is titled "Antigua" (as in the West Indies island of Antigua, not Antigua, Guatemala). That Caribbean influence adds to the intrigue on an album where the direct or indirect influences include the Band, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Brenda Lee, and Wanda Jackson. It should also be noted that Recor's vocal phrasing contains hints of Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, although the Hynde comparison has more to do with the sound of her voice than it does with Recor's actual songwriting (which is more country-influenced and doesn't venture into hard rock, punk, or new wave territory). And Recor, who produced and arranged the album with collaborator/LoveNotes member Indian Joe, is clearly a skillful songwriter as well as a skillful vocalist. Recor wrote everything on this 2010 release, which has plenty of contemplative, deep-thinking material (including "It's Over," "Geordie's Song," and the abovementioned "Antigua") but has its humorous moments as well (most notably, "S.P.C.A" and "Blue Satin Thong," which is about leaving an item of sexy clothing in an ex-lover's drawer in order to remind him of what he is now missing). What Did You Expect? would have been even stronger if Recor had made the country factor more prominent; her love of country is one of her greatest assets, and she needs to show it off more. But even so, this is a memorable, promising effort that fans of roots rock, Americana, and country-rock should be aware of.

What Did You Expect?, Dusty and the LoveNotes
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