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Jonathan Gregg and
the Lonesome Debonaires
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    The same elements of wit and surprise inform the musical end of things. Blue on Blonde is a happy amalgam of folk, country, pop and rock, filtered through a purist guitar-band sensibility. The title cut is a restless piece of pop-craft with surging chords and shifting keys, conveying the sense of adventure and uncertainty at the heart of the song. Although Gregg's main strength is the guitar, he is careful to make sure that he's singing a melody as well as playing one. Thus, numbers like "White Picket Fence Life" (a thoughtful shapshot of the American psyche) and "All Bygones" (a woozy, countryish lament for a lost love) are real flesh-and-blood songs, not just setups for a hot solo. "Let's Not Talk Anymore" is such an unselfconsciously pretty rock ballad it could have dated from sometime in the unjaded, pre-MTV past, like 1965 or so, and the same goes for the aching "Sure Been Scared." On the power-pop side, the catchy "Famous Last Girl" will have you tapping your feet and singing along even before you've learned the words. No, they don't write 'em like that anymore — but fortunately Jonathan Gregg does.

Blue on Blonde is available from Jagdisc, 304 Mulberry Street, No LJ, New York, NY 10012.


FROM THE TWANGY GUITAR LICKS that kick-start Blue on Blonde, you know you're in for a spirited ride. Jonathan Gregg is a triple-threat guitarist, singer and songwriter who's come up with a solid CD's worth of urbane, melodic country-pop winners, usually taken at a brisk and bracing tempo. Based in New York, he plays with the barnstorming enthusiasm and chops of Dave Edmunds, Albert Lee and other like-minded students of the six-string melting pot. His band mates, the Lonesome Debonaires, back him with a streamlined, song's-the-thing tightness. As a writer, Gregg doesn't just turn phrases, he turns 'em inside out. Take the irrepressible opener, "Girl About a Song," a dizzying, agile bit of wordplay sung at a gallop: "Well I read your little letter and it didn't take me long / Long for me to want to write a girl about a song / Girl about a song / Wacky duet / Look how two rights can make a wrong."

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