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CD REVIEW: Bob Wire - Sentimental Breakdown
By Chip Withrow - 10/22/2008 - 04:19 PM EDT

Artist: Bob Wire
Album: Sentimental Breakdown
Genre: Blues/Roots Rock
Sounds Like: Sun Records rockabilly, George Jones, Buck Owens
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: My Heartache and Me, Hotel Maximillian, In Defense of the Raisin
CD Review: I’ve been taking life too darned seriously lately, and Bob Wire's Sentimental Breakdown is just the remedy for that affliction. Like he did on his previous album, American Piehole, Bob Wire fills this set with often-goofy, well-played country and rockabilly numbers that would fire up a tavern on a Saturday night.

“Cadillac Jones” leaps off the disc, followed by the careening “Adios and Vaya Con Dios.” I love the story of “Cadillac,” “Adios” is a fun kiss-off rocker, and both are fueled by David Colledge’s stinging guitar. Colledge is also on fire on the wacky “In Defense of the Raisin” (yes, it is an ode to the dried-up grape, and it rocks) and the barroom blues “Call Mr. Fix-It.”

Next up are two of my favorites, “My Heartache and Me” and Jesus In My Heart.” “Heartache is a good ol’ cry-in-your-beer weeper with sing-along backing vocals, and Bob Athearn’s Floyd Cramer-esque piano ripples nicely. “Jesus” is Wire’s most clever lyric, and I was able to play my new banjo to the straight-up acoustic arrangement (with a churchy organ thrown in for the bridge).

“Rescue Yourself” and “Hotel Maximillian” are strong departures from the general silliness. “Rescue” is a loping tale of two what-have-we-got-to-lose folks who find each other, if only for a moment, and “Hotel Maximillian” is an eerie, twangy tale of tragedy.

The disc closes with Wire and his band’s deep-fried take on one of my favorite songs of all time, John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” It’s an unexpected, smoking set-closer.

I should add here that Mr. Wire’s vocal delivery throughout the disc is top-notch, rich and infused with just the right amount of country pathos. And he has put together a nifty batch of tunes to sing.

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