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Dave Gleason

Well Worn – 2002 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Dave Gleason

Dave Gleason and his band Wasted Days (who copped their name from Freddie Fender's classic tale of dissipation) don't play country, and they don't play some current flavor of alternative country. They play country-rock in the strict sense of the term, meaning what came out of the attempted blend of two genres that The Byrds, the Stone Ponies, Poco and a thousand other bar band lesser-knowns essayed some 30 years ago - as well as a certain fellow named Parsons, who was involved at various points along the way.

True to the form, Wasted Days sound a lot closer to the Flying Burrito Brothers than to the comparatively unalloyed country of solo Gram. All the signifiers are here: loping rhythms, earnest and drawly vocals, high-riding harmonies, pedal steel as sustained mourn, the extended cresendo of the Telecaster, sometimes solo, sometimes trading off. There's even a turn through a rare Parsons song that its author never recorded. There's also a whiff of outlaw about songs such as "Soft Shoe" and "Sad Violins," and "Country Mile" swaggers like the country Stones, but at its core, the music sounds like what Gleason calls it: California country.

This will no doubt strike some as excessively revivalist, but Gleason and company don't seem to have taken to the style for any reason other than that they simply like to play it, and for the most part they play it well.