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Byron Dowd Band

The Byron Dowd Band – 2011 (Panther Creek)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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There are touches of country, blues and folk in the self-titled debut release from Texas' Byron Dowd Band. Dowd's country roots are most evident on the ballads Sinner's Lament and One Hill, as well as the opening track Stained Dirt. Perhaps the strongest country tracks are Footsteps ("The sweat falls from your face like a rainstorm/With three minute shade breaks to keep you sane") and Nowhere But Here ("You're ate up with lonesome and wound tight as a snare drum") on which Dowd is joined on harmonies by Maylee Thomas.

Also impressive are the blues rockers Punch A Train ("I'd punch a train just to get back home/For guitar strings and country songs only last so long") and Keeping Gone ("The years rolled by and left the lines on my face/ Kinda sat myself down and took a real long look at this place/I've paid more than most on just getting grown/Still I ain't done keeping gone").

The folksy Six Feet Above ("Paper cuts upon the heart/They bleed real bad but stop and start") and an acoustic version of Stained Dirt are further highlights.

Dowd wrote or co-wrote all 11 tunes and is nicely supported throughout by band mates Ben Moore (bass) and Cody Carroll (drums) as well as Dowd's co-producer Rob Wechsler (fiddle, mandolin). With strong compositions and Dowd's soulful vocals, at times reminiscent of Hal Ketchum or Leroy Parnell, this is an impressive debut.