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ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Allan Atwood
HOW COUNTRY
©2009 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd
Co-founder, MyTexasMusic.com

I peeled back the cover of this CD and found a rock star doing a country album.  It worked for me.  Mark Allan Atwood has the soul of a rocker and the voice of a successful country singer.  Atwood brings his love for harder styles and his powerful voice to a collection of relatable and entertaining tunes.  Atwood pens the lion’s share of the album, with a lone cover of Kristofferson’s “Jesus Was A Capricorn.” The songwriting on the album is direct and allows listeners to take a ride around life with Atwood as he sings about his travels as a performer.  Musicians who hear the CD will understand a few of the inside jokes that others might not readily connect with.  The album opens with “Honkytonk Blues” (no, not that one) but a good one, in which Atwood pays tribute to getting it done out on the road.  “Full Of It” is a hilarious look at touring musicians in general and as you might have assumed, the title could be missing a couple of letters.  Clever.  Atwood’s title cut is an anthem for all who have every played songs for money that they would never play otherwise.  It’s also a tribute to Atwood’s own ability to morph into the performer he’s expected to be all for the sake of pleasing the crowd.  Noble.  “Hurricane Wind” (no, not that one) is Atwood’s heartbreak song, and is a great example of his rock roots, featuring his most dynamic vocal performance.  “Kill My Guitar” is a guitar player’s lament, blaming all of life’s problems on the guitar.  Symbolic for all that ills most musicians, the guitar takes the fall for our hero’s little failures.  The guitar takes its revenge during the solo.  Clever again.  One of the most well-conceived cuts is “Oakalla Road” which is wrapped in a comfortable ‘bojangles’ rhythm that endears the listener to the abstract visionary so expertly generated in the lyrics.  “Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde” (no, not that one) is a favorite of the album.  The arrangement is thumping and contagious like a Golden Earring tune.  You shouldn’t use your CD player’s shuffle feature when listening to this disc.  You have to experience the progression of the album as Atwood shows you how country he can be in the beginning and then about the time he asks “how country do you want your country” the gears shift and Atwood falls seamlessly into his impassioned genre.  The album wraps up with its most hilarious track, poking fun at America’s obsession with political paranoia.  This is one of the most entertaining releases of the year.  There’s something for everyone here, but get your travelin’ shoes on.  Once you’ve heard the disc, you’ll stop at nothing until you can catch a live show.

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