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April 11, 2000

down the promo PIPELINE

Cold Morning Songs
Satellite Inn (Mood Food Records).
1381 Kildaire Farms Road, Suite 246, Cary, NC 27511

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Take Satellite Inn for example. On their new CD, Cold Morning Songs, they sound every bit like the rural band they are, until you realize that the country they hail from is a long way from Dixie-thousands of miles in fact. That's because this alternative country band hails from Forli on the eastern coast of Italy. They credit their unique sound to the influence of bands like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown on their traditional country/rockabilly roots. What evolved is a very different interpretation of the Gram Parson's influenced "Cosmic American Music". But in many ways Satellite Inn is much more authentic than many American bands that have tried to capture that spirit. Unlike other foreign bands that attempt country, Satellite Inn never sounds like a parody. There are no bad country accents; just straight from the gut lyrics wrapped in a layer of sadness and banjo.

In the song “Silent Town,” they paint a vivid picture of the broken side of any town. Abandoned buildings and broken windows have a feeling of emptiness that is echoed in the line "I don't like you but I'll try to find a reason to tell you another lie". “Sometimes in the morning” captures that wishful hope you feel when you first wake up and the heart-wrenching feeling that follows when you realize that you've wasted all your second chances. By far the two best cuts on the CD are “The Barstool” and “2000 miles.” But even the rambling “Dreamer” and the Dylanesque “No Way Out” far outshine many of the paler offerings by bands that have country as a birthright. Overall, Cold Morning Songs is an excellent CD in any language.

-- Thomi Sharpe

First Picnic
Laidlaw (Americoma Records/Beyond Records).
PO Box 18524, Beverly Hills, CA 90029

Laidlaw is the first band signed by Nikki Sixx's new Americoma label and they are pretty much what you'd expect--a long hair heavy metal band. But unlike the Crue, they have a decidedly southern flavor. In fact they sound more like a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band than anything fresh or new. Don't get me wrong, the lyrics are catchy and they have all the 'right' stuff--the let's get high and party song, the rock concert anthem and the bad boy ballad. The problem is that its all been done before and a hell of a lot better. Even their cover is cliche, don't these boys know that posing with porn stars is soooo 1990's!!

Laidlaw wants to be a reflection of their biggest influences, but they end up being a weak imitation. Yet, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and these boys must have flattered the right people. Their guest artist and thank you list reads like a who's who of the seventies rock scene. In addition to Nikki Sixx, there is Steve Perry of Journey, the Honkettes (who sang backup for Lynyrd Skynyrd), Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Sammy Hagar-you get the picture. These guys have some heavy hitters behind them. And on the album they look like they are genuinely having fun hanging out and partying with the big boys. Its a good thing too, because this is definitely a dead end ride. Save your money and buy what you really want -- a Lynyrd Skynryd's Greatest Hits CD.

-- Thomi Sharpe

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