Black Music Matters Festival
 Sign up for newsletter

Cuff the Duke

Way Down Here – 2010 (Ernest Jenning)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

Find it on Amazon

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Cuff the Duke

Having toured with Blue Rodeo among other Canadian alt.-country acts, Toronto-based band Cuff The Duke make a dent Stateside with their latest. And if you're into warm harmonies and generally a solid off-the-floor feel, this should be sought after. Led by singer/guitarist Wayne Petti, the band opens with a gorgeous folksy number You Were Right showcasing the sweet harmonies and rather laidback, Americana feel. Meanwhile Follow Me is a slightly more up-tempo, pedal steel-accented track that would probably sound perfect on Wilco's earlier world-weary efforts. Produced by Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor, the album shows different facets of Cuff The Duke, whether it's the rowdier, rocky, retro-flavored It's All A Blur or the equally adventurous Byrds-meets-Crazy Horse Promises. Petti however seems to hit a bit of a wall with the sparser The Words You Ignore that has a dreamy quality to it, but doesn't result in a stellar payoff. Fortunately, the joyful jangle returns with the surefire Listen To Your Heart. The second half of the album is highlighted by two five-minute gems, the first being Old Photograph which easily grows on the listener as it ambles along while the barroom piano leading Need You. Overall, Cuff The Duke makes a strong impression with this fine piece of Americana.