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Grievous Angels

Miles on the Rail – 1998 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Grievous Angels

With their third release, Earl C. Whitehead and the Grievous Angels have again delivered an impressive set of country-rock tunes. The focal point is Whitehead whose distinctive vocals are the band's most recognizable feature.

In "Might Be You" Whitehead tells the story of a man whose obsession can only be relieved with the elimination of the woman who haunts his memory ("I dropped you on the lawn/Just a whistling a song"). In "Sin Away" Whitehead acknowledges that he is on a less than holy course ("I don't claim to walk on water when I sink this low"). Virtuoso Jon Ranhouse leads the way instrumentally on steel, banjo, and mandolin. Co-producer Dan Henzerling provides some James Burtonesque guitar licks, particularly on "Hell Gets a Broken Soul." Henzerling also has lead vocal duties on covers of Tom Waits' "Cold Cold Ground" and Hank Williams' "Long Gone Lonesome Blues." Bassist Mickey Ferrell and drummer Jesus H. Navarro lend solid rhythm.

Though comparisons to Gram Parsons remain inevitable, Tempe, Arizona's Grevious Angels have used the inspiration of such icons as Parsons andHank Williams, combined with the influence of punk rock, to create their own unique sound.