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WHISKEYTOWN Strangers Almanac (Deluxe Edition)
Universal (2008)


During a short lived spell between 1994 and 1999 Whiskeytown launched the career of Ryan Adams and laid down an alt country blueprint that may would follow. Strangers Almanac was their major label debut from 1997 and now gets the Deluxe Edition treatment. That is, a 2 CD set featuring the original album (remastered, naturally) plus five previously unreleased radio performances on disc one, and seventeen previously unreleased recordings from the pre-production sessions for the album (the Barn's On Fire sessions) on disc two.

While it never broke the mould at the time of its original release, the album nevertheless received positive press and with "16 Days" and "Yesterday's News" receiving significant radio play. And of course, it did provide the springboard for Adams to take his talents to the next level.

What's worthy of mention here is the quality of the 'bonus' material that has been dredged from the vaults. In particular the material on the 2nd cd (all 77 minutes of it) is high quality studio material. You get beautiful, acoustic stripped down versions of albums tracks, covers (Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Gram Parsons), demos and alternative takes, as well as a handful of originals being premiered.

Whiskeytown and Adams fans are simply going to cream themselves.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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