Mike Craig’s jocular style, his sense of melody and his arrangements all remind me of the late Nancy Thorwardsen’s preferred effect. This is particularly true of some of this CD’s pick tracks including “Saddle Sweetheart,” “Downtown Cowboy Ball,” “Elixer,” “Sierra Sunset” and “Cactus Candy.”
Craig is supported very nicely by his Trails & Rails bandmates. Of special note is guitarist Jim Soldi. In the liner notes we are told that in support of Craig’s historical poem “Train Beyond The Veil” Soldi improvised an accompaniment in one take, creating what I would easily name the most successful such enhancement I’ve ever heard, and I do mean “ever!!” It’s an absolute tour de force of appropriateness, if that makes any sense at all!
Additional CD picks include “Wonder” (a different spin on the city dweller’s ache for the open and vice versa with the cowboy), the title track “Cowboy Boots,” Another” (a non-repetitive song about repetition of pattern), “Making A List” and “All They Ever Say” (is ‘moo!’). Fourteen tracks, highly recommended.
CD: $15 + $3 s/h from Mike Craig, PO Box 3507, Ramona, CA 92065 or through the usual…cdbaby, iTunes, amazon…
– by Rick Huff
Train Beyond the Veil
Downtown Cowboy Ball
Nine Point Five
Making a List
All They Ever Say