CONTINENTAL DRIFTERS - s/t

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1994 release. Continental Drifters front a full, occasionally crowded, sound with several good singers. Their self-titled debut from 1994 kicks off with the rocker "Get Over It," an infectious kiss off, then turns soulful on "Highway of the Saints." "Some of Shelly's Blues" features nice harmony between Vicki Peterson andSusan Cowsill, and lots of atmospheric slide guitar by Robert Maché. "Desperate Love" has the chord progressions and overall feel of an early-'70s rock song, while Gram Parsons' "A Song for You" is pure alt-country. The glue that holds songs as dissimilar as "Mixed Messages" and "Invisible Boyfriend" together is a fine mesh of keyboards, drumming, and overlapping guitars. Call it a sloppy hodgepodge, but it manages to transform itself into something charming. One thing that should be re-emphasized is that four of the band members sing: Carlo Nuccio, Peterson, Cowsill, and Peter Holsapple. They each sing lead, trade leads within songs, and pair off in multiple combinations for harmony. This versatility adds a great deal of texture to songs like "Highway of the Saints," which features no less than three leads. This is American roots music at its best.