Music » Homespun

Homespun: The Linemen

Reconsider
(self-released)

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On "Easier," a track from the Linemen's sophomore album, Reconsider, singer and guitarist Kevin Butterfield compares falling in love to a country song: "You play three chords and then just sing along." Butterfield's being a little coy with that line — the band certainly relies on classic country songcraft, but the new album's songs are far from trite retreads of Ray Price songs. 2007's Through Side One introduced Butterfield's refined touch as a songwriter, but it's his voice — fragile yet forceful, twangy in all the right places — that makes these songs stick in your heart. His delivery is tailor-made for country weepers, and the Linemen tackle one of the best such songs here: Its version of the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Hot Burrito #1" (also known as "I'm Your Toy" when Elvis Costello covered it) is spot-on.

But if the band's debut was a showcase for Butterfield's talents, Reconsider is more of a band album. Bassist Greg Lamb and guitarist/pedal-steel whiz Scott Swartz contribute songs and vocals this time around, and the record is better for it. The addition of guest keyboardists Ronnie Bell and Dave Grelle (of the Feed) fills out these songs and creates a little more nuance (and rock & roll muscle) this time around. But even with other singers and musicians stepping up, the Linemen remains Butterfield's baby. The album's best track, the short and bittersweet "Love You at All," features only him and an acoustic guitar. It's clear that he needs little else to make his point.
— Christian Schaeffer

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