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Ryan Cook 

Wrestling With Demons (independent)

Yarmouth’s dark-eyed honky-tonker has spent time in Nashville since the last album, raising his awareness of how valuable or debilitating uniqueness may be. On “Single in a Bar,” Cook sings, “I’m the reason they invented birth control,” a backfiring boast that’s good for a laugh every time---Roger Miller would approve. “Facebook Waltz” absorbs terms like “relationship status” and “poke” into 4/4 time. Online absurdity doesn’t stop at the city line. Genre assumptions are stretched; dobro, meet clarinet! “Lulu Lemon” exalts the sudden tide of ladies in tights, recalling his old number about how women in high heels resemble “horsies when they walk.” Humour and powers of observation are a huge asset when the singing and playing is this solid too.

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Vol 25, No 25
November 16, 2017

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