Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers

Long-haired Arizona troubador Roger Clyne kicks off the title track of his latest album, Sonoran Hope and Madness, with a volley of fireworks--and a typical show from the Peacemakers, his sharp band of compadres, promises equally high spirits, with a sometimes irritatingly generous approach inherent in their life-affirming brio. The elements that make up Southwestern rock are ephemeral--the sun-baked lull and mesquite are figurative; the references to tequila and Mexico are real and plentiful--but Clyne's eloquent guitar twang and tales of striving, hangdog losers seem illustrative of the type. An elegy to a deceased friend, the Peacemakers' latest recording is imbued with a seriousness and longing missing from Clyne's former band, the Refreshments, whose Cracker-like humor and snide delivery (remember the King of the Hill theme song's manic, celebratory shuffle?) lurk beneath Clyne's mature new voice. Like the Gin Blossoms (guitarist Scott Johnson has recorded with both bands), the Peacemakers sometimes sound mellowed out from ennui or heat, sometimes emboldened by heartbreak. Warning: Those of us with bitter hearts may find ourselves unaccountably pissed off at this band's happy audience of ass-shaking señoritas and their blue-jeaned, whiskey-toasting paramours.
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Amy Freeman