Music News

Steve Watson

Singer-songwriter Steve Watson crafts clean, concise electric folk-rock ballads that should appeal to fans of Jackson Browne, though it's the high and dry lonesome prairies of Wyoming that provide inspiration, rather than any crowded stretch of Southern California. Somewhere above the wires, outside the radar and beneath the sonar, the former frontman for Madison's pop trio, the Other Kids, champions AM sensibilities with plenty of FM gloss and kick.

Using reckless driving and haunted radio towers as metaphors for lost love and spiritual despair, Watson finds himself in the pop-vs.-profundity dilemma, winding up as a small-scale genre artist with a few memorable guitar lines. Up-tempo rocking dominates the disc with odes to garage bands, collapsing empires -- even Louis Armstrong's overthrow of the minstrel show and subsequent banishment from New Orleans. Lighter moments include the title track, in which the protagonist drains three tubes of airplane glue, robs a bank, then joins the Athenian infantry (typical pop fodder), before it sullies itself with yet another cliched homage to Deep Purple.

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John La Briola