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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Dusty Rhodes & The River Band
First You Live

OC (CA) band, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band have conjured up a very good debut album with their ‘splash of styles’ First You Live.  With songs steeped in country, classic rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass, and other recognizable genres, Dusty Rhodes and his clan succeed in what many of us understand as early rock.  Early rock meant a fusion of jazz, blues, country,…anything that would create a unique blend of music and that would be interesting.  In First You Live, you get that mix in copious amounts.  And it sounds so good.

The album’s chorus intro segues into the ‘70s-sounding title track, which itself walks right into the bluegrass-flavoured “Leaving Tennessee.”   In fact, the entire album is a backward sonic trip into the heart-warming era of the ‘70s, when rock was in its teens – imagine that!!  “Ghost Trails” opens with music that sounds like they hung with The Band and Dylan before moving into a Cheap Trick-like vocal.  This should tell you what kind of band we’re in the hands of.

The story goes that several members of the group got together after finding their path opened by a viewing of The Last Waltz.  This doesn’t surprise me.  The Last Waltz is a carnival ride of extraordinary talent all in one place.  With the accordion, mandolin, violin, banjo, chiming in with the usual rock instruments, the group that make up Dusty Rhodes and The River Band are varied in their musical skills.

First You Live is like listening to a museum of familiar bands and yes, it is a lot of fun.  More to the point, I am anxious to hear how they develop further for their second album.  But in the meantime, this debut works!!

Release Date: October 09, 2007
Produced by: Ikey Owens
Format: CD

Track Listing:

First You Live / Leaving Tennessee / Ghost Trails / Dear Honey / Oh Icicle / Strike / Keys to the Trunk / Then You Pass / Street Fighter / Grampa Mac / Goodnight, Moonshine / The Ballad of Graff.

Dusty Rhodes and The River Band:

Dustin Apodaca - Keyboards / Accordion / Vocals
Kyle Divine - Guitar / Vocals / Harmonica
Allen Van Orman - Bass
Andrea Babinski - Violin / Mandolin / Vocals
Edson Choi - Guitar / Banjo / Vocals / Sitar
Eric Chirco - Drums

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