Sway - Let It Roll
To my ears, country music is something that really walks a fine line. It has to be three things: honest to it's roots, easy to listen to, and most of all, a fine teller of stories. Most of what I hear from modern country betrays these three ideals to varying degrees. While SoCal's Sway aren't changing my mind all that much, their debut full-length Let It Roll is rather enjoyable for what it is; bare-boned, softly-spun radio-friendly country that fits in with today's trends while doing it's best not to become another face in the crowd.
Leadwoman Gina Quartaro is the one most responsible for the success of this album; her voice is incredibly potent, soulful and engaging, making the rather drab (depending on your point of view) lyrics more interesting to follow, and adding enough melody and emotion to these standard backing tracks to make them more than they might be with another, less accomplished vocalist. Opener 'Cowgirl Scene" seems high on most critic's list of the best here, and it's certainly a fitting opener that would make a successful radio single. It's this element that carries softer moments like "If I Knew" and makes them rather special for what they are. Perry Martin provides the male vocals and half of the guitar work and he's just as experienced and knowledgable as Gina when it comes to this type of music. A listen to a track towards the end up the album, "Left Unsaid", provides ample proof. "This World" sounds like the sort of song that really makes an impact in today's country scene.
All in all, I can't say this album is exactly for me, but I also can't deny it's well-written, well-played and enjoyable all the same. I can't think of a fan of today's country who wouldn't want to be without Let It Roll in their collections, and that's the sort of praise the band no doubt deserves. I was tempted at the start to (however gracefully) bash the band for giving into the modern sounds of a genre that's sort of left it's roots behind these days, but it is what it is and they deserve credit for bringing some honesty, passion and creativity to the formula.
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on 2009-05-22 dscanland Said:
Good review Kev. Especially for stepping out of your comfort zone!