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Dave Foley

Breaking Old Ground – 2000 (Fair Weather)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by Dave Foley

Is it possible to be too reverent to one+s musical roots? On first listen, Dave Foley seems to sing timidly, as if not sure of his place among the ranks of bygone country singers who inspire his music. Maybe the album+s crude production gives this false impression, or maybe it's Foley's aw-shucks, boyish mien. As a closer listen to Foley+s second album reveals, the Massachusetts resident is quite capable of holding his own vocally, musically, and lyrically.

Foley's voice is at its George Jonesiest on numbers like "Old Memory," "Hard to Forget" and "Ten Feet Tall": songs of lost love delivered in rich notes whose restrained sadness makes room for a little bit of twang. On more happy-go-lucky tunes, such as "Holey Moley" and "Hungover," his vocals adapt to the catchy, playful rhymes and looser melodies.

Although the instrumentation consists largely of standard country riffs, Foley and band+s musicianship is tight and sure, especially on upbeat songs like "Too Good to be True," "Hungover," and the title track (the staticky lp sounds on the latter, however, are cloyingly faux-authentic). This album of 11 originals is well titled: with its familiar refrains, brief melodies (most songs are 2 to 3 minutes long), and themes of losin+ love and gettin+ drunk (usually in that order), the band does explore the old territory of country music - but with a foot-tapping vigor. ( E-Mail: davefoleyband@aol.com)