National Grain - National Grain

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National Grain
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CD Baby

'Over the past decade, dozens of budding alt-country groups have cut their teeth at the Star Bar, the Earl and other Pabst-pouring Atlanta honk- tonks. Yet while a token few like the Drive-By Truckers have gained national acclaim, the bulk of the local talent has coexisted peacefully under the radar. One such act is National Grain, a five-piece led by singer-songwriters Ben McAllister and Jeff Moore, which may not stay under that radar for much longer. The band's self-titled debut of easy-on-the-ears Americana simultaneously uplifts and laments, filled with homespun tales of long-distance love, long train rides and barstool confessionals. The lonesome AM-radio vibe of traditional country rubs elbows with the galloping rhythms and Telecaster twang of Old 97's and, at times, the tattered vitriol of Uncle Tupelo. Cuts like "City Lights," "Better Times," "High Country Twilight" and "Why Don't You Ever Call Me On the Phone?" get better with each spin, buoyed by honeyed harmonies and toe-tapping choruses that should make even Southern transplants sing along with an exaggerated drawl. Whining pedal steel and clucking banjo give the songs a broken-in feel, thankfully preserved by light-handed production. With nary a throwaway in these dozen tracks, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more accessible debut in the local bin. National Grain hasn't reinvented the wheel of country music, but the band is doing it's part to keep that wheel turning.

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1) Pretty Women Won't Give Me the Time of Day
2) City Lights
3) Some Kind of Devil
4) Athens to New York
5) Better Times
6) High Country Twilight
7) Why Don't You Ever Call Me on the Phone?
8) Kentucky ; Tennessee
9) Norfolk Southern Line
10) Whiskey Wine ; Beer
11) Milltown
12) Virginia

National Grain
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