The Laws,
(JML, 2002)

You can put together all the components of country music, but that doesn't necessarily make it country. Remember the '80s movie Rhinestone with Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone? Probably not. In that movie, Dolly takes a bet that she can make a country music star out of anyone -- enter the Italian Stallion. In the end, he still can't cut it at country, but does okay at rock 'n' roll. Unfortunately, this CD is a very similar situation. Just because you put together twangy vocal styles, love-forlorn and repetitive lyrics, and many guitars (heck, even steel guitars), it doesn't make you country. This musical duo even goes the distance and puts a picture of them with their dog on a front porch. (Can we get any more stereotypical here, folks?)

Country music is more than what comedians and musical snobs have dissected -- yes, there's lots of "woe-is-me" repetitive lyrics and sometimes a twang, but there's a little more emotional investment than that. It's a musical style of the everday person's life experiences, from love to heartache to personal loss. It's more than the sum of its parts.

In an album of mostly-missed-the-target songs, "Let's Hit the Road" gets closest to its goal. John Law has a pretty good voice that sets the escapist tone that should be a solo. The guitar pacing is good and the background tune is pretty catching. If only the rest of the tracks followed this example. Besides Michele's attempt at twang, the songs fall into a flat mold of repetition.

That "more" quality is what this album is missing. I'll give Michele and John Law an "A" for effort, because they do try hard with their collection of original songs. They've put together every aspect they can think of and thrown a few extra things in, but it falls short of its goal.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 14 December 2002