and lead guitarist Jonathan Gregg wastes no time demonstrating
his flair for writing songs with more hooks than a flasky
fish lure on "The Hardest Goodbye." Slow or fast,
reflective or rocking, nearly all of the tunes could be stripped
of their lyrics and still be strong enough to pull you in.
Not that the lyrics are expendable.
Far from it. Gregg, who's been compared with the likes of
John Hiatt, Marshall Crenshaw and Freedy johnston in the past,
writes smart, clever and sometimes intriguing songs, variously
arranged in pop, country and rock settings. Although he'as
a romantic, to be sure,
much more apt to reflect on bittersweet ironies than idyllic
romance, a predilection that helps shape some of the best
songs here, including the title track, "Memory Lane"
and "Pictures of the Two of Us."
Along with his bandmatesguitarist
Michael McMahon, bassis Chris Smylie and drummer Nat SeeleyGregg
succeds in delivering the band's songs with a mixture of jangly
pop-rock innocence and rootsy country-inspired grit. Given
that combination and the leader's fascination with unresolved
emotions, it comes as no surprise that "The Hardest Goodbye"
has the power to resonate in the mind long after the last
note has sounded.