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Scott Hall


The Cord CD release party

Sunday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m.

Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin

$10, half price for military

Few local bands crank out albums as regularly as Sindacato, and few make such a conscious effort to evolve with each new release.

So now, having worked its way through folk, bluegrass and old-time country and gospel, Sindacato is back with its most electric and urban sounds to date.

Aptly titled The Cord, the new 13-song collection continues the plugged-in sound that bandleader Frank Dean explored on his 2004 solo album, ... And Back Again. But instead of honky-tonk and outlaw country, his inspiration this time is the music of the Mississippi River valley and its unique ability to transcend racial and cultural barriers. Special interest is paid to Memphis' role as the home of the Sun and Stax record labels and as a general clearinghouse for blues, rock 'n' roll, R&B and soul.

The band will unveil the new material in a release party Sunday at the historic Artcraft Theatre in Franklin. Located on Main Street just north of the county courthouse, the Artcraft is a sort of home base where Sindacato has opened shows for such legends as Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson and Kitty Wells.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 but just half price for military personnel, in a nod to the folks at nearby Camp Atterbury.

The Cord was created at Medicine Lodge Studio in Johnson County. Sindacato fans won't be surprised by the solid drumming of Carl LoSasso and the always deft and tasteful work of guitarist-vocalist Jon Martin. New bassist Brent Bennett also contributes his vocals and writing talents.

A prominent surprise on the disk is another newcomer, keyboardist Mike Brown, whose organ drives many of the arrangements. Brown also adds fire to the blues numbers with his aggressive harmonica.

Although most of the new material would sound perfectly at home at your local blues bar, the styles vary enough to stay interesting. Particular standouts are "Something You Should Know" and the Bennett-penned "My Kind of Woman," both up-tempo, gospel-tinged, R&B numbers. The slightly funky "She Comes Back Around" evokes the Band, and closing cut "Ninety Miles an Hour," about a high-flying player headed for a fall, could pass for vintage Creedence. The misleadingly titled "The Blues Just Won't Go Away" isn't so much a blues number but a somber rock hymn in the vein of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale."

Lyrically speaking, the album revolves around the pains and joys of love and the ups and downs of hard living, often with a cautionary air. "Mr. Johnson Said" addresses a woman's addiction to some nameless, seductive evil, perhaps methamphetamine. "Had Myself a Few" explores a truck driver's devotion to women, whiskey, weed and speed.