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Hanna-McEuen

Hanna-McEuen – 2005 (DreamWorks Nashville)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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No matter how you look at it, Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen are connected by some kind of star-crossed providence. Genetically, they are first cousins, the sons of identical twin sisters. Musically, they benefit from their proximity to their fathers, Jeff Hanna and John McEuen, the founding members of the near legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

The pair mapped out individual musical courses - Hanna as a member of The Mavericks, McEuen in various bluegrass bands - but always found time to work together. The success of the track "Lowlands," from NGDB's Circle III disc in 2001 featuring the fathers and sons together, convinced Hanna and McEuen it was time to make their partnership official. The result is their stunning self-titled debut, a blazing display of the duo's blood-touched soulful harmonies and propulsive Beatlesque country pop rhythms. From the double-clutched opener "Fool Around" to the weepy prelude to heartbreak of "Read Between the Lies" to the Fab-Four-in-Bakersfield pop of "Tell Me," Hanna-McEuen shake and swing and rock and twang like Foster and Lloyd at a Dwight Yoakam barbeque.

Hanna-McEuen pledge equal allegiance to country and pop and succeed by understanding and strengthening the long standing bond between the two genres.