13

by: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils' return to recording after 17 years of solo projects and festival appearances finds the Daredevils' voices sounding a little older and a little gruffer. However, if Neil Young and Johnny Cash have taught the world anything, it's that a singer/songwriter can improve with age as long as what he's saying is still worth listening to. Unfortunately, it seems as though these guys were torn between making either a smooth Nashville country album or a laid-back Jimmy Buffett-style good-time album. The chunky "Bar Hoppin'" is a loose handful of fun, as is the leadoff track, "Dream-O," but the slick "I'm Still Dreamin'" and the radio-friendly "Everywhere She Goes" are a little too clean in contrast. Still, it's a well-produced album with a grab-bag of solid songs, particularly "If It's True," the sole contribution by original Daredevil Larry Lee (whose voice hasn't slackened a bit since the mid-'70s). As is evidenced by 13, the band is older, a little less reckless, and a little more cautious, but the people who bought the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' records in their heyday have aged too, and maybe this is just the sound they're looking for. ~ Zac Johnson

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