The Coal Men get down and dirty (12/03/2009)

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The Coal Men Dave Coleman's, er, Coal Men doesn't stray far from even the most middle-of-the-road MOR. Even the band's label describes its music as meat and potatoes ... calls it "old school" music. Which could lead you to believe that listening to these Coal Men is pretty much the aural equivalent of sitting down to a tinned dinner of corned beef hash: Rib-stickin', yet redundant. Yet, to Coleman's credit, it works. The band's latest, Kids With Songs, was recorded on a 16-track analog reel-to-reel (that's good old-school), and most of it was done live in the studio. True, it's still slicker than the spit that used to seal deals on Nashville's Music Row – there's more than a bit of country in the band's country-rock – but it's an honest slick, meaning finely polished, not bowdlerized. Call it "Jeff Twitty" – equal parts early Wilco and Conway-style country, served without pretense. Double Door Inn

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