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Chicken Wire Gang

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With their offbeat hash of musical styles, side projects and whatnot, the Chicken Wire Gang men have done their share of chitlin tours of our fair Southeast for the past decade.

Ironically, Galvanized is their first full-length offering, although the band members--all versatile knowledgeable types--have played with everyone from the Flat Duo Jets and SCOTS to the Squirrel Nut Zippers (and the SNZ offshoot bands). And if you saw the play Good Old Girls, you heard keyboardist Greg Bell (he was the sound designer).

These are some free rangin' chickens, brother--their originals range from a Gene Autry-esqe campfire ditty ("Pine Tree Shade") to the zydeco shuffle of "Grande Mamoo" to the Pogues-flavored "Rooftops." Even though there are some cornball covers ("Rural Rural Rhythm" and former N.C. popster Rick Rock's new-wave dud "Buddha Buddha") the Gang--at their most ingenuous--play and sound kind of like the Band. "Hold Somebody" and "Saluda Grade" really evoke Danko, Manuel and the boys, and that ain't no small feat (make that Little Feat while you're at it).

Sigh ... there's just no substitute for knowing how to play. Indie rockers take note. CWG, whose stirring motto "the band that cares enough to show up" would do any group proud, close this tasty platter with a tune by the ole silver fox himself, Charlie Rich ("Sail Away"). Let's hope they don't take another decade to release the next one.

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