Luther Wright & the Wrongs,
Guitar Pickin' Martyrs
(Back Porch, 2003)

I love the title of this CD, and I love this band.

Most of the work here is original and has that lovely, fresh feeling of not being over-influenced by any awe of the past masters. The opening track, "Wish Me Well," sets the tone and we go on an upward curve from there.

I particularly like the writing on "Devious Dissembler." Can you not love a title like that? The pace is steadied for "Land of Milk and Honey" and shows that the Wrongs can deliver a beautiful ballad with the best of them. Maybe it's the influence of Sarah Harmer. She also joins Luther on vocal for "Race to the Top," where the old-time yodelling brings back a bygone age.

The old time country stars would never have released the next track -- purely because it would never get airplay. "Broken F****** Heart" is an excellent song and can be very realistic but I doubt if it will be heard on many radio sets even in 2004. This is a pity because there is great rhythm and inspired lyrics.

There are any number of strong pieces on this album. They are strong in the sense of top-class compositions, but also in that some of the lyrics may require parental advisory notices.

Another heart song, "My Heart, My Heart," has the potential to be a great single hit. It gets your feet tapping and heart pounding, as a good hillbilly track should. In the old days of single releases, the ideal b-side to the single would have been "Darlin'" -- even if the lyrics were a bit risque on close listening.

There is one cover version here and it is well worth it. Hold on to your hat and play track 12 at full volume, "It's Mighty Dark to Travel." The final track, "The Settling Dust," is another fine contribution and is well worth giving your attention to.

I enjoyed this CD immensely; there is some great writing and playing featured and I hope that many more people manage to hear this work. The insert with lyrics is very good.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 24 January 2004

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