Gallatin Gateway guitarist/songwriter Jim Averitt has his eighth album out of what he calls “Montana-inspired folk and Americana music.”
Helping Averitt out are local talent and violinist Chelsea Hunt, who appears throughout, and Chris Cunningham and Rick Winking, who chime in on “Saffire.” The others include Santa Barbara members of Jeff Bridges’ band, the Abiders: Randy Tico, bass; Tom Lackner, drums; Shawn Thies, background vocals; Maitland Ward and Martin Young, guitars; George Friedenthal, keyboards; Kevin Winard, percussion; and Tom Ball, harmonica.
The title tune is a slow country rocker with a smooth electric guitar sound; Averitt’s sweet baritone is joined on the lead by Thies’ powerful alto. The duo’s voices mesh well as they share long sustained notes.
The love song “Bug of Insecurity” has a quiet finger-picked intro; it’s got cool chords and a bluesy tempo with a ‘60s nuance. The guitar solos are fluid and silky, with wisps of Amos Garrett’s style. “Montecitoland” has a piña colada flavor, with its syncopated intro and laid-back charm. The shuffly “Buffalo Blues” features bent harmonica notes and tinkling ivories as Averitt sings about chasing a herd of not-so-compliant bison; the whole band sings on the chorus, too.
“Snoring Dog” is a pretty instrumental with a nifty slow-rockin’ drum riff throughout, bottomless bass, and a great violin-guitar pairing. It’s lush and layered and orchestral, like film music. Yowza!
Averitt sings the gentle “Cowboy Forever,” in which he extols the virtues of ranching – living and working hard in the wide-open spaces, riding the range and soaking up the breathtaking Montana scenery. All in all, this is a polished, well-produced effort.
– Mariss McTucker