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The Notorious Cherry Bombs - Self-titled Album
Universal South Records 
Album Review by Cheryl Harvey Hill

 

*Once upon a time, a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter was a young pup looking to carve out his piece of the American musical panorama -- and he found some like-minded mavericks who wanted to maintain the traditions while blowing up the rules.

 

If you have ever wondered what kind of music you would hear on radio, if radio could play anything they wanted just because it was good, you will find the perfect example on the new album from The Notorious Cherry Bombs. Although this is their debut album, this is not the first time they have sung together. They actually got their start in the late '70's as The Cherry Bombs, Rodney Crowell's road band, they "added 'notorious' to their name for legal reasons" in early 2004.

 

*The Cherry Bombs felt so good because they didn't think, they just played. With their hearts, their souls, their fingers, their flesh, their will to turn country music upside down. And it was a loose ragtag bunch of guys who balanced their talent and excellence with the will to drive while blind -- and if the combustion sometimes blew up, it was far more likely to explode into paroxysms of the best that music had to offer.

 

If you don't listen to any other song on this album except "It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long", you WILL have gotten your money's worth and I guarantee this song will have you laughing out loud. I am also confident that it will bring to mind someone that you know. It is downright hilarious.

 

For those of you who are wondering who would be brave enough to record a song that most likely won't ever get played on radio, the answer is none other than the fearless, fabulous, mega-talented group which includes (among others) Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell and Tony Brown (yes, the Tony Brown of Universal South Records - better known to the current generation for producing rather than singing). And one of the best things about this particular album is that although the other ten songs on this album have less controversial titles and lyrics, they are just as equally entertaining.

 

According to their bio, when Rodney Crowell was asked to perform as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers annual Awards dinner he reunited the Cherry Bombs, on a whim, for a one night only performance. As it turns out, it was a performance that earned them a standing ovation from one of the toughest audiences to be found anywhere; an audience of knowledgeable music industry insiders. It was also one of the most rewarding ovations of their combined careers and the seed of collective creativity was sown among the band once again. Luckily for us, it wasn't long before they were seriously considering the possibility of an album.

 

*Blowing up convention, jettisoning the rules, expanding the convergence between the Beatles and Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and the Rolling Stones, the Cherry Bombs were a ragtag band of musical rogues who knew how to cook on all four burners in the name of the songs, the thrill of the surge, the curve of a great hook.

 

The end result is a musically diverse collection of songs that reflect the remarkable talents and personalities of this unique band. The liner notes say it best. The band members are described as "prime architects of modern country music." I don't think anyone is going to argue with that observation -- especially after hearing the album.

 

The album kicks off, and ends, with the Vince Gill/Rodney Crowell penned, "Let It Roll, Let It Ride." But in between, like all good country music albums, the collection of songs are a reflection of life. Whether you prefer brilliant blues, hauntingly perfect peddle steel, cool country rock, excellent instrumentals, or simply sublime vocal harmony ... you'll find it on The Notorious Cherry Bombs. A few of the songs are just magnificent by their simplicity like "Making Memories Of Us."

 

According to Vince Gill, this album was created without having to worry about the ratings, there was no pressure, they were free to record music, for no other reason than it "felt good."

 

Rodney Crowell echoed that statement when he said that "Let It Roll, Let It Ride" reflected their attitude when making the album. He says, "That song was just sort of articulating the philosophy we were talking about when were going to make the record...hey, lighten up, let something good happen."

 

"This is just good old boys getting back together to make a record," says Tony Brown. "If it does great, great. If it doesn't sell, it doesn't go platinum, then I don't feel that we failed. We did it just to document who we were back then and who we are now and how we have something to say musically as a band."

 

And what they have to say "musically as a band" is brilliant. Simply brilliant.

 

*all paragraphs in green italics are quotes from the Notorious Cherry Bombs website.

 

Rating: BUY IT!

The Notorious Cherry Bombs - Self-titled Album track list: 

1. Let It Roll, Let It Ride 
2. If I Ever Break Your Heart 
3. Wait A Minute 
4. Making Memories Of Us 
5. Oklahoma Dust 
6. Dangerous Curves
7. Forever Someday 
8. On The Road To Ruin 
9. Heart Of A Jealous Man 
10. It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night 
11. Sweet Little Lisa 

Website Review by Jim Weaver: 
The NCB website is still a work in progress so I won't be too hard on them, really there's no reason to be. It's a great looking site, full of potential, it's just a little thin right now since this is their first album as a group. I'm sure once they hit the road and start adding pictures and tour information and other fun stuff this site grow rapidly. Be sure you check in on it every now and then. Go see for yourself right now... www.thenotoriouscherrybombs.com.

Rating:   Very nice!

Fan Rating:  

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