Rattlesnake Choir Walkin' The Wire

Rattlesnake Choir Walkin' The Wire
The high standard set by this Toronto, ON roots combo on their debut disc, Live Music, is actually eclipsed on this sophomore outing. The band are built upon the songs and voice of John Borra, but his comrades (violinist/vocalist Miranda Mulholland, Blue Rodeo keyboardist Michael Boguski, percussionist Sam Ferrara and bassist Tony Benattar) are one talented posse. Most of the songs are Borra originals, with Ferrara and Benattar contributing one original tune apiece (a jaunty country rocker and instrumental, respectively). Mulholland delivers a fine lead vocal on Jenny Whiteley's "Halls of Folsom," while she and Boguski shine on a rollicking barroom remake of classical favourite "Flight of the Bumble Bee." Duets with Mulholland on "You Play The Thunder" and "Ghost of the Rodeo" evoke the spirit of Gram and Emmylou, and her fluent violin frames Borra's haunting vocals on many of the songs. Borra has a naturally retro-sounding voice that perfectly suits honky-tonk-style tunes like "Heart Full of Love" and "It Wouldn't Mean A Thing," a song whose references to California, drugs and nudie suits take you back to the days of the cosmic cowboys. The similarly vintage recording style of using two-inch tape adds aural warmth to one charming disc. (Cousin Jeb)