Vocal With Instrumental Accompaniment

As a guitar innovator, studio wizard, and the engine that started the Tractors, Steve Ripley has never strayed too far from his Tulsa, Okla., roots.

As a guitar innovator, studio wizard, and the engine that started the Tractors, Steve Ripley has never strayed too far from his Tulsa, Okla., roots. His first solo effort for Nashville-based Audium is an aural joyride, full of the kind of pounding shuffles, twisted knob-twisting, and rough-hewn Okie soul that powered the Tractors' best work. "Gone Away" is sheer brilliance as a percolating homage to the good stuff of yore, "Night Time Lover" smolders with vigor, and contemporary beats blend with beautiful Hammond organ on "Too Many Borderlines." A tinge of British Invasion crops up on such cuts as the crisp "Mr. Jingle Jangle," and Ripley evokes his past association with Bob Dylan on "Down Down (I Don't Believe You)." Later, "The Round and Round" is pure Tulsa shuffle, and "Crossing Over" is Bible-belt gospel. An inspired slice of understated genius.—RW

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