Alternate Route
©2009 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd

Steve Thrower, David Roork, and Stan Davidson are Alternate Route.  Each contributes to the project in their own special way.  Roork is the primary songwriter in this disc, with Thrower penning two and co-writing two.  Davidson pens and vocalizes “Better Days” which is a cornerstone cut on the disc, showing the group’s rock influence with its classic Joe Walsh-inspired minor progression and true-blend vocal harmonies.  The title cut is a tropical adventure that sets the tone for the album and is just a taste of this feel-good collection of tunes.  “Over Easy” reminds us that a simple story of breakfast could be thick with double entendre, especially with lines like, “jiggly in the middle.”  “Beer Thirty” is a different take on the ‘five o’clock somewhere’ method of thinking with respect to how early we can ethically drink a beer.  A clever tune, it surmises that it’s never quite too early or inappropriate to pop a top.  No argument here.  This group, ostensibly a trio, makes excellent use of string instruments to develop their tropical sound, which is influenced heavily by their numerous trips to Cozumel and the Caribbean.  The boys take a trip down country music lane with “Texas Hold ‘em” but they don’t stray far from their core sound.  You’ll hear very good harmony work throughout the album, and it’s great to hear a sound that I’m sure the band can duplicate in a live performance.  I have to applaud the group for capturing their true sound without smoke, mirrors, or fancy tricks.  What you hear is what you’ll get live, though you might find them playing most often without a percussionist.  No matter, the guitar and mandolin work is as solid as the vocal work.  One of the more clever tunes is “Tornado Magnet” which pokes a little fun at trailer dwellers, but in a fun way, of course.  You’ll smile as you listen, probably relating to more than you might admit.  Track 8 pays clever and sincere homage to the plight of our minority and downtrodden brethren who have to endure “that merry-go-round.” The story is wrapped in an upbeat toe-tapper rather than lamenting such subject matter in a sorrowful dirge.  Well done.  “Hot Soccer Mama” is a blues tune.  Yep.  You never know where you’ll meet the next soccer mom.  If you’re a fan of Trop-folk, get ready for your next party disc.  There’s even a whistling solo on “Vanilla Moon.”  This disc is the band’s best work to date, though their previous offering, BAIT SHOP BEAUTY, does include some well-conceived tracks.  The important thing to remember is that this group has stumbled onto something that can take them very far.  What started as a simple project to appease their shared passion for life and music has blossomed into a trail that just might lead them to the moniker of Texas music mainstay, especially among tropic lovers and Parrotheads.