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Duncan Walters

Northern Rain – 2003 (Spent Round)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Duncan Walters

The "Americana" label that has gained currency in recent years is, to some,a code word for music that tries to be country music for people who professnot to like country music. Put another way, it's an attitude that viewsAmericana as falling short of being "real" country music, similar to theway modern electrified Nashville music completely overshoots the mark.

For others, though, like Boston-based singer and songwriter Duncan Walters,Americana is a term to be embraced as a way of blending a variety of bonafide country styles - in his case, this includes bluegrass, Cajun, whiteblues and straight-up roadhouse honky tonk - into a hearty musical stewthat goes down pretty easy. In fact, he even goes so far as to title one ofthe 11 original songs "Americana," on which he gives a laid-back, easygoing performance that will remind some of Don Williams, while on some of the more up-tempo material he brings Texas cult favorite Chris Wall to mind.

Though he doesn't specifically call himself "country," his mellow, deepbaritone and phrasing are country-smoked to the bone, and the album's lonenon-original cut, the venerable "Deep River Blues" is done in a way thatwould make the Delmores proud. E-Mail: dw@duncanwalters.com, Duncan Walters)