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Idlewheel

Live at Morning Star – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Idlewheel

Despite the fact his tenure in Poco encompassed the group's twilight years, Jack Sundrud brought skill and credence to his role as the reliable remaining foil for front man Rusty Young. Indeed, after playing for parts of 30 years as "the new guy," Sundred deserves far more credit that he's received so far. His dedication to the brand was always assured, and after the departure of the other "veteran" member, Paul Cotton, he gave Poco added life long after they passed their prime.

Even apart from Poco, Sundrud's first band was the country group, Great Plains, He's had songs recorded by Ty Herndon ("It Must Be Love"), Kenny Rogers, The Judds and The Persuasions.

While these achievements tend to overshadow Sundrud's efforts as a solo performer, it only takes a listen to his individual efforts, either on his own or with his occasional partner Craig Bickhardt in the band Idlewheel to realize he's also fully capable of taking the helm. "Live at Morning Star," recorded live in the studio, offers an ideal showcase for both men's talents, and while the setting is stripped down - the two singing accompanied only by acoustic guitars and the lithe rhythms of drummer and percussionist Tommy Geddes - these performances are so exacting and emotive, they're compelling all the same. The duo's rendition of "It Must Be Love" seems to soar on the strength of the shared vocals, but "These Bones" and Sundrud's touching "Father's Day" are also able to elicit emotional response.

Yet, most of the material isn't recycled, but there's not a single song here that doesn't sound committed and inspired. If Idlewheel wanted the ideal demo for record label consideration, "Live at Morning Star" could completely and convincingly suffice. A dark horse of an album, it more than deserves to reap them proper recognition.