For too many, country rock is equated with either the hangdog wheezing of fringe-jacketed troubadours like Gram Parsons or the mustachioed mush of the Eagles. But to Zach Boddicker, former guitarist of Fort Collins's Drag the River, the term has way more of a shit-kicking connotation. Neon Steven is the name of Boddicker's new trio, and this introductory EP encompasses everything from the Southern-sizzled boogie of ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd to the revisionist twang of Son Volt. The sound is a bit brittle in places, and as accomplished a guitarist as Boddicker is, his flourish-heavy playing sometimes detracts from the songs instead of embellishing them. Overall, though, Neon Steven comfortably resides in a genre in which most so-called alt-country bands would be too chickenshit to spend the night -- that is, retroactive classic rock that's not afraid to flaunt a hot lick or five. Sure beats the hell out of one more half-assed cover of "Sin City."
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