ALBUM REVIEW: Family Reunion "Family Album"

If you have brothers or sisters that live far away, you probably talk at least a few times a year - maybe every couple of months or more. However, cousins who live in different parts of the country rarely speak - except for the yearly Christmas card. That's what makes the success of Family Reunion's new album "Family Album" all the more special. Six cousins - yes, the number six - have created a band that records its one-of-a-kind brand of country songs using alter egos to protect their serious day jobs (such as accounting). Indeed, the Family Reunion band is somewhat like the British group Gorillaz - except with a few more jokes and some country attitude.
The album begins with the working-class anthem "Blue Collar King," which laments the anonymity of blue collar workers to white collar bosses. Likewise, the track confronts the sense of gloom facing many Americans since the US economy became turbulent at the end of the Bush term and throughout the Obama administration. The female lead vocals on the next cut "A Hard Man (Is Good To Find)" immediately lets the listener know that the song could be the Viagra theme song. Surprisingly, it works.

Cousins JD, Carrie, Barbie, Hollywood, Tex and Slim are the alter ego identities that form the band Family Reunion, and they live in the states of Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and California. In fact, they call themselves a "truly country-wide band."

The quiet "Judy My Dear" showcases a powerful, laid-back vocal performance that is both surprising and refreshing. "The sound of your laughter I hear," croons the singer. The cut "Beautiful Judas" has much of the same charm, and the song discusses a woman who abandons her man from the male perspective.

The song "Yes" has a cool vibe reminiscent of the best duets of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Both cousins give powerful vocal performances, and "Yes" emerges as the album's best produced track. Indeed, the cut could have wide appeal for multiple genres of country music, and radio program managers should consider introducing the song to its listeners. At over five minutes, the song might be a bit too long for radio, and a special edit could certainly make it better while still retaining its unique musical intensity. The duet "Hey Broken Hearted" could also interest some radio program managers.

The traditional cut "Delores" is a slow, story-in-song that is surprisingly touching, and "Runnin'" picks up the pace. However, the band might have a real radio winner with "Peas Porridge Cold." The actual song itself is country gold and could be a major mainstream Number One country chart hit in the able hands of a country star such as Blake Shelton or Luke Bryan. However, the retro country sound and "ooohhh" background vocals of the track do somewhat of a disservice to a song that has the potential to be a country blockbuster. It's a great cut as it is, but it's current state could be akin to having a beautiful wife that only wears jeans and t-shirts when she would look significantly more attractive in the right dress. In short, "Peas Porridge Cold" needs the perfect mix.

While the band Family Reunion is a group of six cousins who are shown as cartoon characters, don't want to use their real names due to serious day jobs and could have the song that could help Cialis gain more market share, the band is no joke. "Family Album" showcases a group of serious musicians who should be proud to show their faces. Maybe the next album should be called "Family Photo."