Homeland (Magnatone, 1996)
Reviewed by Brian Wahlert
After a shakeup of Great Plains' membership and a label change, the band returns with a sophomore album well worth the wait. Great Plains is a group of three extremely talented vocalists and instrumentalists who play acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, fiddle, harmonica, and mandolin. In fact, only three additional studio musicians play on this disc! Great Plains further distinguishes itself from the pack of country bands by playing a rootsy, acoustic brand of country music with three-part harmonies that shine on the choruses of lead vocalist Jack Sundrud's well-crafted songs about life at "the geographic center of the lower 48." The lead single "Dancing With the Wind" is about a coffee-shop waitress who gets swept off her feet by a "rough and tumble" customer, and "A Dream That Never Sleeps" gives a snapshot of their life 10 years later when they've settled down and had two kids. Sundrud also does well at evoking nature with songs like "Coyote Choir" and "Sentimental Fire." Unfortunately, Great Plains won't get much radio airplay - three-part harmonies just don't work on top of line-dance tracks - but this album is well worth seeking out nonetheless.