Caleb Caudle and The Bayonets
Dreamers don’t have it easy in this world. Reality has a gravity that often leaves us spitting smoke and flames, gathering up the newly wrecked pieces of our lives just as we thought we’d learned to fly. There’s a wondrous mix of cloud high conjecture and down-in-the-dirt truthfulness to Winston-Salem, NC’s Caleb Caudle and The Bayonets. With a rootsy vibe akin to The Jayhawks and The Replacements and a forward surging energy that compares well with Ryan Adams circa Gold, this band, especially as reflected in their bang-up new release Snake River Canyon, is the real deal.
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Frequently overlooked in the rush to anoint country rock pioneers like The Byrds, Eagles and Gram Parsons, early starters Poco were one of the most together, musically tough units redefining the boundaries between hippie freak music and Nashville. This blazing set, part of Collector’s Choice’s new vintage live series, finds Poco at their crowd-pleasing, high energy best, picking up on the dangling possibilities of Richie Furay‘s old band, Buffalo Springfield, the vibe of good Merle Haggard, and showing they were already miles ahead of where the Eagles were at in ’71. A swell mix of electric corkers and acoustic swayers, Live At Columbia Studios (released April 20) is a bittersweet reminder of what country music might have become if some grit and sweaty charm were allowed into the slick mainstream machinery. The songs here are just plain killer, the harmonies top notch, and the sound is solid. Makes one wish they’d been there passing a doobie and clapping along. (Dennis Cook)