Picks and Pans Review: Old Dreams
In the early '80s, guitarist Ryan Hedgecock teamed with honky-tonk angel Maria McKee to found the pioneering alternative country group Lone Justice. While McKee would establish herself as one of the decade's premiere vocalists on a string of mostly winning solo albums after the group broke up in 1987, Hedgecock's career languished. Collaborating now with singer-songwriter Amy Allison, with whom he released a well-praised six-song EP, Dreadful Sorry, two years ago, he has switched gears from creating rocking honky-tonk to an engaging brand of techno-flavored pop music. Underpinning the computer-generated wall of synthetic sounds created by Hedgecock and producer Malcolm Burn are driving rhythms contributed by two living, breathing drummer-percussionists (including original Lone Justice member Don Heffington). Unfortunately, Allison, the daughter of jazzman Mose, can't quite muster vocals to match the music's rolling lilt. A creator of catchy, pop-bright loved-and-lost songs, Allison wrote or cowrote 6 of these 11 tunes. But the album's melodic sway is marred by high, nasal vocals that make her sound at times like a Spice Girl on helium.
Bottom Line: Frothy pop that could use more vocal fizz