Radio Kings,
Radio Kings
(Dark Skippy, 2001)

The Ottawa-based trio Radio Kings do not disappoint on this 2001 release. Combining bluegrass, jive, swing, blues and a healthy helping of good old country charm, award-winning musicians Al Bragg (steel, dobro, keyboards), Mike O'Reilly (mandolin) and Steve Piticco (acoustic and electric guitars), along with some very special friends, have created a collection of danceable gems.

The record opens with the Charles Christian/Benny Goodman instrumental swing number "Seven Come Eleven." Next up is O'Reilly's "Southern Moon," which has a traditional country feel to it. His vocals are soothing and take the listener back to a simpler time. It also helps that T. Bruce Whittet and Bob Bangs use a lot of brushes on their drums, giving this song and others on this record a rambling kind of feel. Bragg's dobro is featured heavily, especially on the blues/classic country "Fat and Happy" (with Don Marcotte on bass).

CCMA and Juno nominee Tracey Brown (formerly of Prescott-Brown) lends her beautiful voice to the classic country duets "Ocean of Tears" and "Tell Me More." O'Reilly's pen is set to work again on "Don't," bluegrass bitterness at its finest. Rather to my surprise, his mandolin in the beautiful "Lullabye of the Leaves" does actually sound like leaves falling in the wind. I've heard it said that no record is complete without a waltz -- the Radio Kings apparently agree and oblige us waltz fans with Jimmy Wakely's "Good Woman's Love."

This is a strong record, perfect for those lazy summer nights -- and it showcases enough variety to give you something new to hear every time you listen to it.

[ by Rachel Jagt ]
Rambles: 30 November 2002