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Adult Art Small Mercies
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By their own definition and classification, Adult Art's music falls into the "adult contemporary" with its folk rock and soft pop songs. So much for labels (paper ones not the record ones!), 'Small Mercies' may imply a gospel touch or laid back folky style. Instead it is one of the best American country-rock albums not made in the US. The over-slick production of their first album sent them scuttling for a rural retreat and like The Band, the change worked wonders. This album has a twinkle in its eye and an ear for inspiring and resonant compositions (all Don Clarkes').

These musicians gel into a coherent country ensemble where these songs are gently worked into one beautiful song after another. Alternating vocals and lovely harmonies merge easily with the intelligent and restrained lead and acoustic guitars while the rhythm section keeps the pace moving and there's not a moment's lag throughout the album. Every song has its own merits and for a song to stand out here it really has to be special. The opener 'Before You Change My Mind' is just that. Evoking The Byrds' golden country sound and the harmonies of Poco, it is joined on the special mention rostrum by 'One Day', 'Tell No Lies' and the curious SA and rock history stew of  'Ballad Of Jannie Smuts' (!). 15 songs that will leave you dreaming of mountains and open plains, er, veld, and knowing which cassette is going to hog the tape deck, both there and back. On Awesome Records, completely appropriately!

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman 7/10

others in the REVIEWS

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

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editor: Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, webmaster: Alan Levin, maintainer: Brian Currin

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