Dale Murray Brighter Lives, Darker Side

With the Guthries spread far and wide across the country’s music scene, songwriter/pedal steel player Dale Murray continues the band’s roots rock approach on his debut solo album. Brighter Lives, Darker Side happily cribs from some of the best and Murray’s influences arrive from far and wide. His love for country is still apparent on songs like "Don’t Wanna See” and Liverpudlian harmonies abound on intro pop-rocker "Driving Song,” "On His Line” and "When It’s Gone.” In fact, Murray is at his most comfortable channelling the quiet Beatle with Harrison slide licks adorning a couple of the album’s stronger tunes such as "The Way Back.” He breaks out a mean fuzz box to scare away TV preachers on "Don’t Wanna See” and are those Manhattan Transfer back-ups on "Thought You Were Right”? The lyrics never quite reach the class of his melodies, instrumentation and production, but on those last three points, Brighter Lives scores all tens. (Independent)