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CD Review by Don Zelazny

The Atkinsons
American Gothic

I've been enjoying American Gothic from The Atkinsons for several weeks now. Besides being nice enough to send the CD at my request, Jamie from the band sent a follow up note to me which sums up the CD better than I ever could.

If you don't mind, I'd like to mention a couple things about "American Gothic".  My husband Dickie is the main singer/songwriter of the band.  He had come up with a couple songs that seem to tell a story in his head and he went from there.  He decided to put the songs together in a "chronological" story order, that's why the liner notes have each song as a "chapter".  Except for the bonus track, which was written by our mandolin player Jeff Williams, the first 10 songs tell the story of a nameless tragic hero who is first introduced as the boy in "Caroline".  Throughout the CD, you see him grow from a little boy to adulthood.  And through a series of bad decisions and bad luck streaks, we eventually come to his death by the end of the CD after dealing with divorce, alcoholism, and jail.  Then a new happier story develops with the diner waitress named Eileen in "Best Thing".  Although the lyrical content is dark, the music and melodies are upbeat.  "Rockin' Americana" is how we depict our style, and we merge that signature sound with bittersweet tales of woe and heartbreak. Our originals are written with a hardcore honesty that chronicles America's lost and lonely souls and their life struggles and turmoil.  New fans of our music are always surprised when discovering the deep dark story lines that lie beneath that upbeat fun sound which simply can be described as rock with a twang.

The CD has roots rock sound accented with Mike Ferry's fiddle which is frequently and effectively used to provide the "mood" of the songs.  This is especially true on one of my favorite tracks, "Chapter One", Caroline.  The next "chapters" are also powerful tunes; Chapter 4, "Forever Wanting You" has some good old 'southern rock' guitar riffs you might hear in old Molly Hatchet tunes. "Part of Me" is a haunting acoustic tune that starts off with the harmonica effectively mimicking a train whistle. Another standout 'Chapter' is "Move Along" which is a bit of of southern 'anthem' or jam type tune with some nice guitar in the middle. The music is moody and strong, and as you can tell by the quote above a great deal of thought went into the album.  Leader Dickie Wood sings lead vocals on the tunes, and definitely has a twang to his voice- if twangy voices aren't your thing, you'll still enjoy the CD- maybe listen to half at a time.  If you like powerful music and a twangy voice to boot, you'll really enjoy this CD.
Their website is theatkinsons.us


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