The Bellfuries - Just Plain Lonesome
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Just Plain Lonesome (ASP, 2001)

The Bellfuries

Reviewed by Ken Burke

Trios just don¦t get a much fuller studio sound than The Bellfuries. Led by singer-songwriter Joey Simeone, slap bassist Josh Williams, and steel player/guitarist Bobby Horton, the Austin, Texas trio conjures an eclectic blend of rockabilly and Western swing, which boasts undercurrents of jazz and r&b.

Horton, who has swung a potent axe for Deke Dickerson and his own bands, provides most of the expressionistic sonic texture against Williams¦ upfront throbbing bass lines. Vocally, Simeone sounds like a cross between Big Sandy and Sam Cooke, especially on the hillbilly bop remakes of Webb Pierce¦s ("Teenage Boogie"), and Cooke¦s ("Stealing Kisses"). Most of the tunes are nifty uptempo workouts ("So Sad And Lonely," "You Must Be A Loser," "Love Found Me") which cleverly explore the complexities of romance. However, the set¦s finest moments come when The Bellfuries slow the rhythm down and let Simeone emote with soulful ease ("Wasted On Him," "Just Plain Lonesome.")

Some tunes don¦t quite gel, but The Bellfuries¦ catchy arrangement sense and creative execution makes for an enjoyable outing decidedly different from work by other bands in this genre.

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