Duane Jarvis Certified Miracle

Jarvis has worked as a sideman with people like Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, and John Prine, so he's got roots credibility up the yin yang. He also did time in a power pop band called the Odds (not the Canuck boys), so he's no stranger to pop smarts. He puts both to excellent use on Certified Miracle; there's pedal steel, mandolin and accordion, and his reedy tenor has a slight twang to it, but his songs have a pure pop core to them. In fact, I'd have to say that there's more Marshall Crenshaw in his sound than there is Rodney Crowell. Joy Lynn White gets a co-writing credit on "Love Sometimes" and adds a damn near perfect counter-vocal. Other folks helping out include Phil Lee and the incomparable Buddy Miller. "Intoxicate Me" gets a healthy dose of Chilton-esque Memphis soul, courtesy of a greasy and understated horn section. "That's All You Need" also has a solid underpinning of soul, being equal parts Stax and Music Row, with just a smidgen of "Like A Rolling Stone" tossed into the chorus. Old boss Lucinda recorded the Jarvis/Williams tune "Still I Long For Your Kiss" on her Car Wheels LP. Duane's version here gets a hint of a Latin feel thanks to the accordion. His version isn't as exposed and vulnerable, but like the rest of the LP it's a first rate example of strong, gutsy roots pop. (Slewfoot)