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City Moon - Down Our Road 
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

It 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 hearing it?

You bet!

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 the truck."

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 suppliers.

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 well-penned originals.

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.

Related Links:   
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