[* sleeve]"*" (Album, 1999)

Six Degrees Records

San Franciscan label Six Degrees have established what they refer to as their Travel Series, the aim of which is to release genre-bending hybrids that induce a variety of musical styles. At the same time they aim to blend the ancient and the modern. So, on a (sub-Penguin Cafe Orchestra) track like The Road you've slide guitar, keyboards, bagpipes, drum programming, bass, more keyboards, and a string arrangement by Anne Dudley. This has a Southern, bluesy vibe throughout thanks in part to B.J. Cole's pedal steel guitar, but mostly to Ken Ramm's songwriting. Like the packaging, it's all very laid back and slick, but the whole thing smacks of a bunch of musos from around the globe having a jam session, with songwriter Ramm compiling the results as an album of rather samey if soulfully intended songs. Bland.  2/10

Rob Dyer