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Early this summer the Stone River Boys released their debut album, Love on the Dial (Cow Island), and in many ways it's similar to the solid country soul of the Haciendas—a sound that draws on the legacy of brilliant Memphis songwriter and producer Dan Penn, who worked on their two final albums.
Barfield is a fine vocalist, but he doesn't have the natural feel for R&B that Gaffney did, which becomes especially obvious when the band covers the Tyrone Davis classic "Can I Change My Mind." On the original groover "Love on the Dial" Barfield overdoes the soulful inflections and ends up sounding like he's got a mouth full of oatmeal. I actually think Gonzalez nails the soulful material better on the two tunes he sings, especially "Still Feel the Feeling" (you can hear it below). Wisely, the band focuses on original material with a healthy dose of Bakersfield honky-tonk—the record benefits from the presence of Texas steel-guitar whiz Dave Biller, who's unfortunately not in the touring lineup.
"Still Feel the Feeling":
The group shares a bill with Robbie Fulks on Friday night at FitzGerald's.