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Cross Canadian Ragweed

Happiness And All Other Things – 2009 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Linda Dailey Paulson

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CDs by Cross Canadian Ragweed

From the hard rocking blues opening of 51 Pieces, it is difficult for those unfamiliar with the Oklahoma band to know what to expect from Cross Canadian Ragweed. If ever they had 'em, these guys checked their 10-gallon hats at the door. They've much more in common with rockers steeped in the bluesy-Southern musical vernacular such as The Allman Brothers and ZZ Top than their Nashville counterparts.

Highlights include Bluebonnets with its charming lyrics and an equally lovely melody, the sparsely introspective My Chances and Drag, which gets its gravitas from deft bass playing. A few homey recording touches add a decidedly casual feel to this sparkling, polished recording.

Although billed as a 15th Anniversary Deluxe Limited Edition on its cover, this is not a compilation; the material was written between 2007 and 2009. There's a hidden track - Warren Zevon's Carmelita - within track 12 and 3 live bonus tracks including a cover of Willie Nelson's Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground that, sadly, has an oddly distorted sound on the vocals.

Surely the "Cross" in Cross Canadian is as much an expression of the group's genre bending as it is the surname of one of its members.