Déjà Vu: Soft-Rockers of Yore Criminally Fail to Teach Their Children Well

On Necktie Second, Find a Door, and Spacey and Shakin', Pete Droge laid down a plethora of tracks that I personally have found middling to major pleasure out of since the mid '90s: good tunes, swell singing, positively terrific guitar playing. I'm mostly Petty-phobic, but if radio tracks "It Doesn't Have to Be That Way" or "Eyes on the Ceiling" had borne Tom's imprint, they'd now be stock classic-rock staples like "Free Fallin'."

A year ago, however, Kim Richey (my other roots/Nashville-renegade '90s favorite, similarly with three mostly terrific long-playas) wandered up to the Northwest and delivered an album titled Rise with Droge and some of his crowd—and it was a snooooozer. Pete Droge's new Skywatching is more of the same: soporific, lazy, hazy. Wake me up when someone changes the cable channel!

And The Thorns, uh, eh . . . OK, I can see the dangers that loom fore and aft whenever three well-meaning guys aim for vocal harmonies and their names aren't John, Paul, and George.

Droge ain't damning any torpedoes.
photo: Doug Menuez
Droge ain't damning any torpedoes.

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Pete Droge
Skywatching
United Musicians

The Thorns
CBS/Aware

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Word is Droge, Matthew Sweet, and Shawn Mullins "worked up the harmony blend during the actual writing process" (not in Hell's Kitchen). Coulda fooled me: This sounds just like CSNY's second dreaded affront to musickind, which made me wanna go all Columbine when it blared out before every U of Texas-Austin student-movie feature attraction during 1971.

 
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