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CD REVIEW: "Red Wine and Copenhagen" by Steve Helms Band

Winding Road Music
"Red Wine and Copenhagen" by Steve Helms Band
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CD REVIEW:  Steve Helms Band – Red Wine & Copenhagen  (Winding Road Music) 2011

Listening to Red Wine & Copenhagen, the new album from the Cleburne, Texas-based Steve Helms Band, I keep hearing a twangy, vocal inflection in Helms’s voice that reminds me of country singer Luke Bryan. Not a bad comparison, I suppose.

In fact, throughout Red Wine & Copenhagen I kept saying to myself – “He reminds me of …”

Helms is the guy behind “Nowhere But Texas,” a song embraced by professional sports teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And on this new disc, on Winding Road Music, Helms and his backing band know Texas songs are always a hit in the Lone Star State. They don’t disappoint with the Lone Star boogie of “Texas Sounds Like Heaven.”

The sultry summer after graduation is the subject of the first track, the deceptively moody “Chasin’ Amy.”

Helms dives into the dancehall with the bouncy title track. Again, the SHB knows how to mix it up and strikes me as an act that can fire up a crowd in a live venue.

A woman seeking a deeper love is the theme of “Wanted Woman,” a song that, given a chance on country radio, would undoubtedly be a hit. A favorite of mine on this disc.

Texas musician Kyle Park lends Helms a hand penning “Physical Attraction,” a mid-tempo honky-tonk track with a John Anderson-esque chorus.

Helms channels some swamp-pop soul on "When You're Gone."

Memories of his grandfather are shared on the tender tale of reminiscing called “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Weather.” The verse cadence reminds me of Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town,” a bit. A similar sentiment, anyway.

A slice of overwrought Southern rock is what we’re offered on “Hard Earned Money,” a song I expect Helms and his songwriting partner Kyle Level could write in their sleep.

Sings Helms: “We don’t expect too much / but come the end of each month / we all love more bang for our buck” right before SHB’s guitarist Ron Stafford breaks into a nice, brief solo.

Helms, who comes across as a pretty confident sort of artist, goes out on a limb and covers James Taylor’s 1970 hit “Fire and Rain.” The prominent steel guitar textures aside, it’s pretty much a paint-by-numbers cover. Not bad, just not necessary.

Red Wine & Copenhagen is a solid, workin’ class sort of Texas country album. It’s honest, a little clumsy and hamfisted in spots but sort of lovable in its own way.

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Grade - B

Copyright 2011 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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