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CD REVIEW: "Unida Cantina" by Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers

Andrew W. Griffin
Cover of "Unida Cantina" by Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers
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CD REVIEW:  Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers – Unida Cantina (EmmaJava) 2011

On the new album by Tempe, Ariz.-based party rockin’ band
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, the boys simply refuse to let up on the good

Yeah, the new disc, Unida
, the sixth one from the band, is immediately accessible and out-and-out

Dig the tune blue-collar backyard bbq anthem “Heaven on a
Paper Plate.” This is the epitome of a summer song. Sings Clyne over a
roots-rockin track: “The grill is smokin’
/ my friends are jokin’ / the kids are pokin’ around in the mud / the sprinkler’s
broken / we got a little backyard flood

Clyne has always had a heart for the common man. And being
from the Southwest border region, he has a heart for his amigos from south of the border. He made this evident at a Oklahoma
City Zoo Amphitheater show a few years back, injecting some liberal-leaning border
politics into the set. The reaction in the crowd was mixed, to say the least.

But really, Clyne’s message is one of peace and pleasure. A
little side trip to the beach. A backdrop of a dusty Mexican village complete
with cacti – it almost seems like something out of a movie. Yet, it’s real – at
least in Clyne’s borderlands world.

In fact, in addition to being recorded at a studio in
Phoenix, Unida Cantina has some
authentic Mexican sounds courtesy of the studio they also recorded at in Cholla
Bay, Mexico, a sleepy coastal village on the Gulf of California.

Stretching one’s dollar, the topic of “Dinero,” is in this
vein, while the lovely-and-dark “Marie” even more so. This Spanish-English
song, with it’s distinctive border sounds reminds me of some of the music by
one of my favorite Arizona bands, Calexico.

Oh, and the title track? It’s an instrumental that is heavy
on the Mexican musical influences.

The acoustic ballad “Small World” is sublime in its beauty
while there is a subtle reggae vibe embracing “Today Belongs to the Light.”

New guitarist Jim Dalton, who replaced Steve Larson in ’09,
has a real handle on his instrument, helping Clyne and the band harken back to
Clyne’s days in the 1990’s in The Refreshments. Of course they are the band
that provides that twangy instrumental for the King of the Hill TV theme and had a minor hit in ’96 called “Banditos.”

You get a real “Banditos” feeling on “Go With the Flow,”
musically speaking. This could have easily been an outtake from a Refreshments
recording session circa 1997 or thereabouts.

The attitude on “Love is the Road” is incredibly beautiful and
positive. And those chiming guitars, balanced with a steady bass (Nick Scropos)
and drum beat (P.H. Naffah) really set a positive minor-key mood.

So, will Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers soon be found “All
Over the Radio,” the title of the first song on the disc? Well, in this era of
Auto-Tune, half-baked disco and “style over substance,” probably not. But that
doesn’t mean you can’t crank Unida
up loud and enjoy every single note. I know I will for a long time
to come.

Grade - A

Copyright 2011 West
Marie Media

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

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

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