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Collin Herring

The Other Side of Kindness – 2005 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Collin Herring

There's a long list of contemporary artists who understand the inherent links between the power of rock and the subtlety of country. Steve Earle, the Drive By Truckers, Bottle Rockets, Ryan Adams, Jay Farrar and Bobby Bare Jr., among a host of others, have found success in the rootsy common ground between genres. Add Collin Herring to that illustrious roll call with the release of his sophomore effort.

Herring runs the gamut from the opening blister of the DBT/Bottle Rockets-flecked "Back of Your Mind" to the Neil Young pedal steel ache of "Sinkhole of Love" to the keening sonic storm of "Lazy Wind." Herring is a master of pacing as well, as evidenced on "Nobody Much Longer," which sighs with Freedy Johnston's vocal and lyrical vulnerability ("What if I just never came back/Disappear in some corner of the earth"), matched by a lilting acoustic soundtrack that ultimately swells to gently insistent proportions by song's end.

This veers between purposeful understatement and wild abandon and Collin Herring is smart and talented enough to walk that line with complete confidence.