Former Mellencamp guitar slinger Larry Crane's new album Tropical Depression
is a refreshingly solid piece of roots rock, similar to those Crane put out in the '90s (Eye for an Eye
) when he was hitting Indiana clubs. Crane, part of the Mellencamp band way back to the early Cougar days, now lives in Florida and plays occasional shows there. This record, however, was recorded in Indiana. Nearly equal parts rollicking and introspective, it shines most when Crane lets loose with his Telecaster, screeching, grinding and digging into roots-rock sounds. His singing voice is rather ordinary, but it has a familiar southern Indiana lilt and serves his songs just fine. "What Billy Wants" is one of the album's best, an Americana anthem that dates back to live shows while he was still resident here. The opening cut "Once You Love" hits many of the same rock and roll buttons, with three-chord rock, guitars and gospel keyboards.