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Cross Canadian Ragweed

Soul Gravy – 2004 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Cross Canadian Ragweed

Cross Canadian Ragweed's follow up to their acclaimed 2002 release "Purple" has the Oklahoma band rocking a bit harder, though the country and southern rock roots remain intact.

The hard edge is felt immediately with the opening track "Number," which extols the virtue of getting high. In "Cold Hearted Woman" (co-written with producer Mike McClure), singer Cody Canada fantasizes about eliminating the one who has caused him pain ("Gonna get me a loaded pistol, hey, was that out loud/Cold hearted woman, I'm gonna put you in the ground").

Other edgy, uptempo tunes are "Hammer Down", "Too Far Gone" and a cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Wanna Rock And Roll". Another strong cover, the Ted Nugenttune "Stranglehold" which has long been a part of the band's live shows, is buried at the end of the disc as a so called "hidden" track.

Canada is equally adept with the ballad form. A pair of tunes written for Canada's sister, "Lonely Girl" and "Sick And Tired", are especially poignant. The latter, featuring nice harmonies from Lee Ann Womack, could fit comfortably on mainstream country radio, as could the reworking of "Alabama" also on CCR's debut cd in 2001.

As with their past work, the mainforce of Cross Canadian Ragweed is lead singer and songwriter Canada, whose driving guitar defines the band' sound. Bassist Jeremy Plato shines on "Too Far Gone," while rhythm guitarist Grady Cross and drummer Randy Ragsdale are solid throughout.

Cross Canadian Ragweed further establishes its place amongst today's alternative country elite but are yet to receive the attention they deserve.