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New name, same great roots rock

The Whiskey Tango Sessions
The Whiskey Tango Sessions
By The Hideaways

Big Bender Records: 2006

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This review first appeared in the September 28, 2006 issue of the North County Times.

While the name "The Hideaways" may not be familiar on San Diego's music scene, the band itself is. A recent legal tangle left longtime roots rockers Whiskey Tango in search of a new handle. Hideaways it is.

But in a nod to their own past, the band has titled what is apparently its debut CD "The Whiskey Tango Sessions."

It's a tight, focused set, with its dozen tracks taking in country, country-rock and folk-rock. With arrangements that provide plush-pile harmonies yet leave plenty of room for solos, The Hideaways and producer Tyler Macy have created a warm, clean sound. Each instrument, every singer comes through crystal clear.

The songwriting credits are split pretty evenly between bassist/singer Phil Bensimon, guitarist/singer Rian Greene and guitarist/singer Keith Haman. Each apparently sings his own songs, and with all three being strong vocalists the contrast in voices provides a nice change of pace over the course of the album.

The songs themselves are attractive, melodic country and pop tunes. The musicianship is top-flight; combine it all, and you've got one of the better countrified albums to come out of San Diego in recent years.