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Equal parts country, bluegrass, and rock, Pinmonkey arrive at their first major label album with three things going for them: buzz from the Nashville music community, which watched them mature in local clubs the last two years; a terrific duet with Dolly Parton on her 1976 song "Falling out of Love with Me"; and the infectious video hit "Barbed Wire and Roses." Lead singer Michael Reynolds''s twangy tenor lifts even the most mundane material to another level, and there''s plenty of fine ''grassy guitar and mandolin riffs to keep the toe tapping, especially on "Augusta," with guest Ricky Skaggs. If a cover of Cyndi Lauper''s "I Drove All Night" falls flat, they soar with a driving rendition of Sugar Ray''s "Fly." And when they launch into the two gospel numbers ("Jar of Clay," "Stay with Us"), they connect with their creative core. Oh, yes, the name? Inspired by an episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer yearns to scramble for errant pins at the bowling alley. Fairly fitting for a band with more strikes than spares. --Alanna Nash
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