Jim Stringer & the AM Band
On the Radio
The Music Room MRCD2002
Reviewed by Dan Ferguson for TIMEOUT

Musically, as far as Austin goes, there's a number of clubs that cater to distinct styles of music. If you're looking for blues, the best bet is usually Antone's. Singer/sonwriter's? The Cactus Club is the spot. for the punk and hardcore types, there's dingy watering holes like Emo's and the Red-Eyed Fly. There's the alt country and roots rock brigade which more times than not seems to make its way through joints like the Continental club and Stubb's. And then there's the rockabilly, hillbilly and retro crew who fill the bill at cozy, off-the-beaten track dives like the Carousel Lounge and Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon. Of the latter, familiar face musicians and singers like Jim Stringer, T Jarrod Bonta, Roger Wallace, Roy Heinrich and Karen Poston can frequently be found on stage at each of those beer joints. A fellow who upon first seeing Elvis on the Ed Sullivan TV show in 1956 was hooked, in Jim Stringer, you have a guitarist with some 35 years of playing/performing experience under his belt who's been through both the rock & roll and honky tonk wars and who is almost a father figure to the up-and-coming talents like Bonta, Wallace, Poston, etc. He also happens to be one of the best six-stringers in a city chock full of talented players. The music of Jim Stringer and the AM Band as found on the new On The Radio may be rooted in the old school '50's from both the 'billy and the rockin' perspectives, yet it's an invigorating and fresh blend that doesn't come off the least bit dated. Towards that end, credit Stringer and his lock-step AM Band. Mr. Stringer, who in adddition to being a hot guitarist is a decent singer and songwriter to boot, has himmself a wrecking crew of talented musicians (Austin piano ace Bonta among the players) and singers (smooth-crooning Alan Barnette shines on several of the Elvis-styled flavored numbers). He and the AM Band waste no time showcasing that stellar musicianship igniting the On the Radio proceedings with the rollicking western swing-leaning leadoff track, an instrumental called Cedar Fever. From there, it's into honky tonk shuffle ala Long Time Coming featuring the nimble Bonta on the vocals, drivers like That's Alright With Me and the clever Stringer original Looking For Romeo, hot licks rockabilly like A Man Who Can't Say No, and the vocal showcases for Mr. Barnette like Don't Tell Me Goodbye, Any Way You Want Me and a cover of the Drifters' Fool's Fall In Love. In all, On the Radio is a record with a most definite pulse readymade for shaking and baking the night away.

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