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Kevin Pakulis and Larry Lee Lerma

With apologies to Bob Dylan, this album should have been titled Another Side of Kevin Pakulis.

Unlike his first two CDs, this record is quiet, slow and almost brooding at times, showcasing a part of Pakulis that he rarely gets to express. These tunes are a haunting mix of melancholy and playful, delivered in a voice rich with emotion, in a Tom Waits sort of way--as in one that's seen its share of last calls.

"The Big Confession" is possibly the best, but, curiously, it's the cover of David Bromberg's "Last Song for Shelby Jean" that perhaps most defines the tone. Other notables include "Deep Blue Sea," with its clever word play (the only tune in the universe that will ever bring Roger Clyne and Gomer Pyle together), "This Time," with its economical use of the slide, and the groove-oriented "Monkey Shine."

On a record almost devoid of guitar solos, the acoustic still plays a prominent and expressive role. As an acoustic player, Pakulis is dynamic and nuanced, as he fingerpicks and strums his way from one tune into the next. While Larry Lee Lerma's big bass tones tend to be more muted throughout, he is a perfect complement to Pakulis, showing why they have been such an effective team for so long.

More by Jim Lipson

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