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Star & Micey: Star & Micey (Ardent) 

Memphis, Tenn., is so infused with the history of American music—rock, soul, blues, country and jazz for starters—that the two are virtually synonymous. The Bluff City's newest export is Star & Micey, a young three-piece that arrives full-born with its self-titled debut CD.

Star & Micey sets the template for the 10 tracks with the opener, "Salvation Army Clothes": classic American heart-on-the-sleeve pop with subtle but essential infusions of Memphis twang and soul. These lads—vocalist/songwriter Joshua Cosby and his cohorts Geoff Smith and Nick Redmond—really know their way around a deeply felt, catchy pop hook, and tracks like "So Much Pain," "I Am the One She Needs" and "Late at Night" are as good as pop gets in 2009. Following Memphis tradition, they also have some pretty great pals sitting in, including Luther Dickinson from North Mississippi Allstars, Rick Steff (Lucero, Cat Power) and, most tellingly, Jody Stephens from '70s power-pop avatar Big Star.

The Stephens connection is key and an indicator of where Star & Micey is coming from in the bigger picture. Star & Micey was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis and released on the recently reconstituted Ardent Records, which makes it the latest in an impressive line of acts—including Bob Dylan, Issac Hayes, White Stripes, Led Zeppelin and Big Star—that have cut sides in the studio's hallowed main room.

So, welcome, Star & Micey. You're already in good company, and perhaps one day a future generation will name-check Ardent Studios as the place where Star & Micey first recorded.

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