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The Hot Club of Cowtown
GHOST TRAIN
(HIGHTONE)

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The Hot Club of Cowtown are the exception to the rule that they donít write tunes the way they used to. On the Western swing bandís fourth disc, Wry, sentimental, and sometimes sappy originals like "Forget Me Nots" and "Paradise with You" sound like pages ripped from a Tin Pan Alley songbook. But the key to the Hot Club is the trioís appetite for the killer swing that spurred this cowboy-big-band genre to musical peaks back in the day of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Fiddler Elana Fremerman and guitarist Whit Smith, who also split vocal duties, leap at the chance to tear it up over Jake Erwinís warm bass buzz. Smith, sounding like an insomniac too weary to lie, brings a nice vocal touch to the ominous "It Stops with Me" and the lovely, hymn-like "Chip Away the Stone," a tune most closely associated with Aerosmith. His guitar evokes a little Django-style pop on "Sleep" and elsewhere, and the entire trio are at full gallop for the Gypsy reel "Fuli Tschai" and the two-step "Cherokee Shuffle."

(The Hot Club of Cowtown play Johnny Dís in Davis Square on October 8. Call at 617-776-2004.)

BY BILL KISLIUK

Issue Date: September 12 - 19, 2002
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