Great Plains

The four men who make up Nashville’s newest country-rock band, Great Plains, earned their spurs in the touring bands of George Jones, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and Mark Knopfler. So how come their own debut album is so instrumentally flaccid, no more lively than the worm in a bottle of cheap mescal? For that matter, how did they get signed to a major label, with Jack Sundrud’s lead vocals offering absolutely nothing seductive in his phrasing, in the raspy texture of his voice, or in his conveyance of emotional pain? Such songs as ”Picture of You,” in which a man goes half crazy staring at the photo of his long-gone lover, and ”Rodeo Drive,” which informs us that money can’t buy happiness (are you sure?), not only turn on too-familiar themes, but they’re about as believable and inspiring as a Jimmy Swaggart sermon on the wages of sin. There’s no crackling energy here and nothing that builds on country-music tradition. Great Plains? More like the Badlands. D

Great Plains
  • Music