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Creosote | Blacksmoke (Now Publishing Now)
This debut set from Tucson-based alt. country outfit Creosote might not offer anything that you won't have heard before. Musically the band would probably be deemed to operate within the narrower confines of the genre, which may deter some, dismissive of such lack of ambition. Frankly though that would be their loss as there's still a lot to be said for good song writing, musicianship and performances, and there's no doubting the abundance of all three on display here. In a crowded genre, while the band's touchstones are never too hard to detect, Creosote should still have no trouble making a name for themselves.  And deservedly so.
They are fronted by songwriter, Jason Steed, who certainly sounds like he's lived a bit, his husky voice imbuing his vivid songs of drinking, driving and failed relationships with an honesty and conviction heard all too rarely.  He's backed by an impressive band that also includes Calexico's Joey Burns and Nick Luca among its number. Interspersed with banjo, fiddle and pedal steel and plenty of exhilarating country rock moments, the band can certainly play...and how!
Well structured and paced, the album establishes itself with stealth-like authority, repeated listening further emphasising its credentials as a work of real quality. By the time you get to the pairing of Time The Lights and Hardly Can Remember just past the album's midway point, anyone even vaguely smitten by the charms of Uncle Tupelo, Slobberbone, or Marah ought to be caught hook, line and sinker.

Geraint Jones
October 2005