Originally created 01/09/98

Band's tunes don't drag

6 String DragHigh Hat (E Squared/Warner Brothers Records)

6 String Drag of Raleigh, N.C., may bring back the three-minute pop song.

On High Hat, produced by country rocker Steve Earle, eight of 14 tracks are under three minutes, and only one tops the four-minute mark.

The album opens with Bottle of Blues, which rocks with the country-inflected twang of the most buoyant Wilco and Sun Volt offerings.

On Elaine, a sped-up country waltz, the band gets to the heart of its sound with crisp harmonizing between lead vocalist and main songwriter Kenny Roby and bass guitarist/tenor vocalist Rob Keller.

Driven Man contains the song cycle's best lyrics: "I ain't like Jimmy/I ain't like Al/I sure as damn ain't like the man you got now." It sports a pretty good Elvis Costello impersonation by Mr. Roby as well.

There's not a real clunker in the collection, only a few mildly uninteresting cuts like From Me to Clayton and Cold Steel Brace.

Top of the Mountain, a rockabilly rocket shot that would make the Stray Cats envious, makes up for any downtime on the record.

The closing number, Keep on Pushin', is reminiscent of the tempo of Shawn Colvin's Sunny Came Home. It may be the group's most radio-friendly song.

While they're considerate of those suffering from short attention spans, songs like Gasoline Maybelline -- with a running time of 1:58 -- leave you wanting more.

But if you're a fan of brevity -- High Hat is the ticket. 6 String Drag gets in and gets it done -- quick.

Kent Kimes

Sound bite

6 String Drag performs today at the Red Lion Pub. To hear the band, call INFOLINE, 442-4444, and press 8100. You'll hear part of the song Top of the Mountain.


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