"No One Else" Review

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Bluegrass Unlimited
July 1999
Reviewer: BW

Copyright 1999 Bluegrass Unlimited

 The Middle Spunk Creek Boys NO ONE ELSE No Label MSCB003

When You Look At Me That Way / Time And Time Again / Seeking A Far Off Home / Cutting Edge To Nowhere/Red Dancing Shoes/Dark Day/A Long Time To Love / Coming Home To You / Gardenia/A Lifetime Shared / My Luck Has Changed / Don't Laugh / There's No One Else.

Over the 30 years the Middle Spunk Creek Boys have worked the performing circuit in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul, they've incorporated generous amounts of outside influences into their own brand of bluegrass. Bluegrass is merely their jumping-off point To that, they add smooth, Peter-Paul-without-Mary vocals and, since they write most of their own material, modern folk and folk-rock progressions and melodies, and nice rhythmic touches. The resulting sound, as this 13 song album shows, is one that makes for some great listening.

Mark Kreitzer wrote eight of the album's nine original tunes, and it is his "When You Look At Me That Way" that starts things off at a quick pace, with the band roaring in after he shouts "You've been reading my mind" in what sounds like the Sun Studio. This is followed by "Time And Time Again," also by Mr. Kreitzer and also up tempo. Probably the best way to describe it is to have you think of Michael Nesmith's "What Am I Doin' Hanging 'Round" but with more of a quirky rhythm to the words. The third cut is a terrific gospel number called "Seeking A Far Off Home." A cover tune, it fits the band's approach perfectly. A bit later, they do a couple of other covers from two Minnesota residents, former band member Peter Ostroushko's lilting "Red Dancing Shoes" and Claudia Schmidt's fiddle-tune-like "coming Home To You." After a few more originals, including "My Luck Has Changed" with its intriguing 5/4 bridge, the album closes with what has quickly become a favorite of mine; "There's No One Else," a slow, pensive number that sounds like the kind of work done by the rock group the Jayhawks. If it were possible to wear out a CD from repeated play, that cut would be in danger.

Tasteful and varied song selection, sharp vocals and solid instrumental work earns this recording a strong recommendation.