If a band is going to steer toward country rock, it could do worse than using Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris and their furious and stratospheric '70's work as a jumping off point. The danger, of course, is that starting at that potent sonic spot doesn't guarantee success, it merely invites some brutal criticism if the band doesn't bring the same passion and accomplishment to its own work.
Seattle-based alt.-country howlers Evangeline succeed in both critical areas, with a thorough knowledge and respect for the Parsons/Harris legend and a healthy passion for its own additions to the alt.-country canon. Vocalist Jennifer Potter works a range more Ronstadt than Emmylou in service to songs that are alternately heel-kicking rave-ups ("Polaroid," "Train Never Came") or quiet ruminations ("Island") or both ("Crooked Sidewalk"). Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Chris Cline has a weary voice and an energetic musical melancholy that suggests a recipe involving Uncle Tupelo with a splash of Replacements. Evangeline has crafted a small album that plays much bigger than its surroundings and that lives up to, and in some cases surpasses, any expectation thrust upon it.