Love and Theft: World Wide Open

RIYL: Poco, Jimmy Wayne, Restless Heart

Every once in a while, a country act comes along that opens eyes and ears. Sometimes they’re so good that they also open mouths. Frankly, that may not seem to be difficult when many acts in the genre not only do not write their own music, but also don’t sing it. That might sound harsh, but it’s a fact of life on Music Row these days. But alas, there is a new kid in town, or, should we say, kids. Love and Theft is a trio of young men who can write, sing and deliver three-part harmonies that not only rival the best country has to offer, but also may bring to mind classic country rock acts like Poco and Restless Heart. Their debut on Carolwood, World Wide Open, is one insanely catchy song after another, and a breath of fresh air that could just amount to a hurricane in Nashville. The title track is punchy and powerful, and features the kind of chorus today’s music industry execs drool over, but there are plenty of other gems – like the rocking “Runaway,” the harmony drenched “Don’t Wake Me” and the stunning, goose-bump inducing closer “Drowning,” which is easily the best track on here. If you’ve been meaning to give country music another chance, make this be the band that brings you back. Heck, you don’t even have to dig country, because it’s just as much a pop record. Either way, Love and Theft is a young act with unlimited potential. (Carolwood 2009)

Love and Theft MySpace page


Sway: Let It Roll

When it comes to a band like Sway, one knows immediately to expect: comfortably safe country pop that countless other lesser and well-known acts have explored to the nth degree time and again. Lead singer and guitarist Gina Quartaro kicks off the album with the clichéd “Cowgirl Scene” that trots out all the old standards such as do-si-dos, common folk, and hitting the local bars. In the meantime, lead guitarist Perry Martin throws down a lead riff that sounds like it’s been played out in a million songs before this one. Comfy like an old pair of shoes but hardly original. If that’s not enough, the worn-out subject matter continues on the father to son life lessons explored in the title track, and other rote lyrical ideas such as thunderstorms, cold winds blowing, and crying in one’s sleep are spilt like milk on “I’m Over You.” Sway don’t have much of anything “new” to offer, from their unimaginative name to their musical and lyrical ideas. It’s safe to say you’ve heard at least ten other artists of varying quality do this exact same thing. If you need to hear another one do it all again, this may be your meal ticket. (self-released)

Sway home page