Recorded in several locations, from Kenmore to Toronto, over the past year. Mighty Engines of Love is a finely crafted collection of passionate and intelligent blues-and-country-based pop. with a refreshingly clean mix and a certain timeless quality which winds its' way through the entire proceedings.
Guitarist Jim Whitford is the nucleus of the band's sound; his sparse and subtle blend of country hot licks and blues-rock noodlings calls to mind the best work of David Lindley and Ry Cooder on such tunes as Good Luck, Money and Gasoline and Been on a Twister. Vocalist Gretchen Schulz adds a throaty and passionate edge to the proceedings, and at times calls to mind k.d. lang or Patsy Cline with her sultry and virtuosi musings. She shines particularly on the beautiful ballad "Right Now," a John Hiatt'ish Jim Whitfurd original with a buoyant edge and an unforgettble chorus. All twelve tracks on Mighty Engines of Love are centered around strong chorus hooks and compelling arrangements: Quite simply, there isn't a weak track on the album.
Standout tracks include album opener Everybody Looks So Down, the radio friendly pop gem Stop and Start Over, the Gretchen Schulz-penned country ballad Marlboro Man, and the beautiful Inspire Me. Whitford's lead vocal on Good Luck, Money and Gasoline carries the tune along with a delightfully country-rock edge, and adds weight to the beefy blues- based riff that is the songs' signature. Bassist Tom Fischer's Bad Penny offers a sweet forum for another inspired performancefrom Gretchen Schulz, as does her own ode to motherhood, I Promise. The rhythm section of drummer Jim Celeste and bassist Tom Fischer is solid throughout, providing a subtle and consistent foundation for Whitford's six string weavings and spacious arrangements. They particularly shine on the instrumental Been on a Twister, which somehow melds surf, country andblues into a cohesive whole. The Pine Dogs prove themselves to be a treasure chest of songwriting smarts, top-notch musicianship and damn fine arrangements on their second CD. From start to finish, Mighty Engines of Love is a winner, one of the most seamless collections of fine tunes to come down the turnpike in years. It earns a perfect rating of four stars.
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REVISED: Wednesday, 07-Sep-2016 12:50:55 EDT
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