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An inveterate Band whore, I was initially motivated to give Latebirds a spin by Levon Helm's presence (along with Benmont Tench, Nels Cline, Minnie Driver, and Kris Kristofferson) on the bonus disc, Woodstock Sessions. And in ’06, Latebirds was the first (and, maybe, last?) Finnish group to play the Grand Ole Opry. Now shimmering, scorching electric tones blast from my speakers. Yeah, the guitarist is the hotdog, igniting the mid-tempo rhythms and dog-eared structural maps most taken. "No1" and "Underwater" are full of rippling loveliness. Latebirds should be tagged alongside Tom Petty and Dire Straits (with contemporaries Dan Hubbard and Red Wanting Blue) in a densely forested land far from Hipster Nation.

The Woodstock Sessions disc? Generally unsurprising. It's pleasant in that latter-day-Band way, when the Band sounded fairly worn out — unlike "Rocking Chair," wherein worn out was wrought poignantly engaging by creatively ignited, younger men. "At Your Service" is a sweet goblet of unspoiled water. And there's something oddly stirring about Kristofferson's arid vocals on "In the News," especially given the "No more killin'" mantra — it's enough to make me emotional about flannel-shirted protesters, free speech, and so many things I hold dear about America. I don't doubt the patriotism of these Finns.

  • Album: Last of the Good Ol' Days
  • Artist: The Latebirds
  • Label: Second Motion
  • Songs: (1) Last of the Good Ol' Days (2) Among the Survivors (3) Time to Live (4) Summer Becomes Fall (5) Time Revisited (6) Fearless (7) Like Father Like Son (8) No1 (9) Kickin' Me (10) You Cynical You (11) Underwater (12) Last of the Good Ol' Days Reprise (13) Light at the end of the Tunnel (14) The City of New Orleans (15) Blind Admiration (16) At Your Service (17) In the News (18) To Live is to Fly
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