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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #32 March-April 2001

Swag

Catch-all (Yep Roc)

It makes more sense to think of Swag as a stellar ensemble cast than a supergroup — say, the “Hill Street Blues” of pure pop. Among the gifted character actors who compose the lineup of this Nashville-headquartered side project are a pair of guys, Jerry Dale McFadden and Robert Reynolds, who started writing songs together while logging many miles as members of the Mavericks. Joining them are Wilco’s Ken Coomer, Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson, and vocalist/guitarist Doug Powell, who has a couple of Todd Rundgren-ish solo records to his credit. What brings this somewhat disparate group together, on a rare day off, is a love of pop music, with a special fondness for the ’60s; think the Beatles, the Kinks, the Zombies.

In Continental Drifter fashion, Catch-All features rotating lead vocalists (Coomer even airs out his baritone on the jaunty “Eight”), and almost every cut features a different songwriting combination. “Please Don’t Tell Me” was written by Reynolds, McFadden, Powell, Coomer, and Scotty Huff (also on loan from the Mavericks), with the first two authors singing in unison and making like the Brothers Davies taking a run at “Time Of The Season”. In a similar collision, “You” imagines what “I Saw The Light” might have sounded like had it been recorded for Apple. The Powell/Bill Lloyd co-write “I’ll Get By” is a crunchy guitar-rocker with Lloyd sitting in and Powell at the mike, while everybody in the dang band, as well as ace producer Brad Jones, had a hand in penning “Trixie”.

Most rollicking is “Ride”, which both tips its musical hand and sums up the record’s spirit with the question, “Do you have a favorite Cheap Trick song?/Put it on!”

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Originally Featured in Issue #32 March-April 2001

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