City Moon - Down Our
Review By: George
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
would easily be ten years. It must be. Could it really be that
long? Back then, I was doing a show on Melbourne (Australia) radio
and a listener asked if Iíd heard of City Moon. I hadnít. Long
story short, I contacted the band and a post-rushed copy of the
album arrived. I remember the boys, who hail from the same place
as Garth, Oklahoma, impressed me with their Way Too Hot debut.
I wrote a review
piece on the album (itís below). As is the way of these things,
the music came, I wrote the piece and we both went on our way. We
lost touch. But over the years, I continued to play tracks from
their first album in my radio shows. I often wondered what became
of the guys.
Now I know.
What a recent
surprise it was to receive an e-mail from the band. They told me
they were fine and had a new album out. Would I be interested in
Down Our Road
is out now on Rockin Records. It proves that a lengthy studio
sabbatical hasnít hurt the band. Their sound is tight, their
song choices of ballads and toe-tappers offers balance, and their
self-penned efforts show the guys know country music.
The album fires
open with a Virgil Bonham co-write, one of six on the album, the
moody "Horseshoe Bend". Itís a setup cut, one leading
into a well-played and well-crafted song folio that follows.
Tracks like "Car Trouble", an energetic toe-tapper that
offers the remembered line from the frustrated ready and waiting
driver, "Öwhen youíre ready to go, me and dog will be in
Across the album,
there is homage to the bandís favored icons. "The House Is
Rockiní" pumps itís infectious riff and lyrics with all
the remembered energy of the Stevie Ray Vaughan original.
"Wonderful Tonight", a tune inspired by one-time wife to
Eric Clapton, Patty Boyd, is a haunting memory, while the standard
Johnny Cash epic "Ring of Fire" is a perfect album fit.
"God Bless John Wayne"
is a timely tip to patriotism and parochial values, and the Jim P.
Blair/ J.Dunham-penned "Lines On My Face" is a myopic on
a loserís lament. The tune, with itís beer-etched pessimism,
shares how the lines on our heroís face resemble the lines on
the road Ė long and goiní nowhere Ė while he tells us his
pick-up hasnít been cleaned in years, save cleaniní the inside
spilliní drinks while changiní gears. Still, it doesnít
matter, as our cowboy tells, heís no longer dating beauty
queens. Itís politically incorrect, sure, but it has a
familiarity some would know. "Grandmaís House" is a
somber perspective from Grandmaís yard Ėthe state of the house
with itís aged deterioration, pairs with the memories of the
love and happier times now past. Listen out also "I Just
Wanna Know", a tune that hits its peak with Britney Bonhamís
emotive pitch on a song of family strife and struggle.
Down Our Road
has whetted this reviewerís appreciation for the guys and their
music. Again. A memo to the band: Donít take years to make the
next one. Please?
And from the
10 year old review vaultÖ
Oklahoman country band, City
Moon, has watched, waited and played. They watched as same state
favoured son, Garth Brooks, barnstormed the world on his recent
global tour. They waited for a record deal to spell recognition
for the yearsí working for next- to- nothing. Theyíve even
played in the same beer halls as Garth did, early in his career.
Brooksí may be Standing Outside The Fire, but itís City
Moon who have become Way Too Hot.
The band comprises Virgil Bonham, lead guitar/
singer/songwriter; Clifford Parrett, bass guitar; Wayne Rinkler,
acoustic guitar and Cory Wyatt on drums. Their debut disc, Way
Too Hot, on Lunacy Records, is now available from most import
The band, which formed in 1993, is a tight,
cohesive unit, swinging like a well-oiled door in a thunderstorm.
Rocking through eleven tracks, the disc has seven originals, all
penned by Bonham. City Moonís working of the Don Williamsí
(Eric Clapton) Tulsa Time has it as an upbeat countrified
rocker. The fiddle wails, the drums thump and the vocal blends the
excitement into a guitar driven slammer, which has fingers tapping
and knees knocking.
Several European radio stations have picked up
on "Trail of Tears" and are giving it extensive
airplay. The track with a familiar emotive "boy losing
girl" scenario highlights the musical resume` of the band:
driving riffs with radio- friendly vocals blending into
The guys plough the necessities of life from
such diverse backgrounds as law enforcement, teaching and
advertising. They are now applying their savvy to making it in
music. Having shared stages across America with: Tanya Tucker,
Clay Walker, John Berry and other country acts, they are hoping
for a Nashville nod with Way Too Hot.
Steve Cannon, the band manager wrote to me this
week. "The collective dream of the band is to tour Europe and
win Vocal Group of the Year in the American Country Music Awards.
Hey, I may be biased, but these guys are the best band Iíve
heard out of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Gazette labels them,
"the NEXT major act".
Move over Garth and share the flame.