Pulling Up Atlantis

This Hoboken, N.J.-based neo-hillbilly/ twang group, led by vocalist/guitarist/ mandolinist Elena Skye and guitarist/ vocalist/banjoist Boo Reiners, follows its 1999 debut album (on Vermont indie Nort

This Hoboken, N.J.-based neo-hillbilly/ twang group, led by vocalist/guitarist/ mandolinist Elena Skye and guitarist/ vocalist/banjoist Boo Reiners, follows its 1999 debut album (on Vermont indie North Hollow Records) with this Koch- distributed Okra-Tone entry that wisely contains the North Hollow single "Like a Prayer." Yes, it's the Madonna classic, here reinvented by a wondrous bluegrass-styled treatment. But Skye's originals, such as "Gone So Long," also show a Buck Owens Bakersfield flavor, aided immensely by Reiners' stellar musicianship and co-producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel's recognizable roots production touch: Ambel's 12-string play on "Dress of Roses," a Tammy Wynette-inspired country heartacher, lends an effective Byrds feel. Guests include "sacred steel" guitarist Robert Randolph and New York singer/songwriter Robert Burke Warren, who duets with Skye on the ballad "A Career of Loving You." The excellent set also showcases a previously unrecorded gem from fellow New Yorker Mary Lee Kortes of Mary Lee's Corvette fame, whose "Give It to the Needy" is given an effectively sparing, Searchers-like touch.—JB