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Trick Pony

On A Mission – 2002 (Warner)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Trick Pony

The phrases are "Don't change a good thing," "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" and "Don't leap off a train while it's moving." They all apply to the second release by Trick Pony, the hot trio that took mainstream country by surprise with last year's debut.

The focus here, while progressing as singers, players and writers, is to remain on the beaten path. Most of this disc is about high energy right from the opening strains of the title cut, much the same as "Pour Me" set the stage on the debut. Other similarities include a very unique perspective on the world, as is displayed on "Leavin' Seems to Be The Goin' Thing," and a good time collaboration with a country legend. On the first album the legend was Johnny Cash and the song was "Big River." This time the guest is Willie Nelson and again a river plays a part as they romp through "Whiskey River."

It is certainly too early in this band's career to expect a vast change in direction from Keith Burns, Ira Dean and Holly Newfield. The real appeal of the first record was that intangible ability to make the listener smile at the unashamed enthusiasm with which they approach their work. That too hasn't changed.