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Dusty Wright

Elevened – 2004 (PetRock)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Dusty Wright

When the first note of Dusty Wright's "Elevened" hits your speaker, you may be duped into thinking its another bar-band outing by a well-meaning roots-rock enthusiast. Don't be fooled. Wright infuses the well-worn medium with a number of pleasant surprises, including a little spacey psychedelia on "Cherry Red Mustang" some detective-show tension and bluesy backup wails on "Farmer's Daughter" and Creedence Clearwater Revival-era stomp on "Love Saves The Day." And then he brings the lights down low on numbers such as "Watching Angels Cry" or "Cuts Like A Blade."

All of this comes with a healthy helping of intimacy - the tracks sound as if they were cut live on a stage, not in a studio. Most country albums have 10 songs, Wright tells us, so he added 1 more to defy convention, which he does up to the very end. His low-key version of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" sounds like it's less about the fun of thinking big (like the bluesy original) as it is about the terrible fact that big dreams such as owning a nice car will never be realized. Keep on truckin'.