Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons: Bend in the Road

There’s something comforting about hearing the voice of one of your favorite singers, and Mark Stuart’s familiar husky, twangy vocals might be just that if you favor his brand of Americana. Of course, Stuart, former front man for Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, has jaunted off on his own, calling his new project Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons. The debut album of this project, Bend in the Road, is much more in the vein of traditional alt-country than Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, a band whose sound at times bordered on alternative rock. Bend In the Road even starts with a cover, Billy Joe Shaver’s “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” but then features eleven of Stuart’s own songs, beginning with “Restless Ramblin’ Man,” a twang-fest if there ever was one, with its banjo and fiddle and slick three-part harmonies. There are moments that are pop/rock-tinged, like on “When Love Comes a Callin’” or “Way Down the Road,” as well as the blistering honky-tonk of “Miles to Memphis.” Stuart even turns down the volume nicely on “Carolina,” which also has some really nice pedal steel play. Depending on why you became a fan of Stuart or BSOJC, you’re either going to love this record or feel a bit cheated, but there is no question the guy can write solid Americana, and his voice is as strong as ever. (Texacali 2009)

Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons MySpace Page


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