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THE JT LOCKWOOD BAND Releasing a debut disc at the Loaf.
The Hallowell music scene is no joke. For a little burg mostly known for being an Augusta bedroom community, the live music per capita is off the charts. Steve Jones, whose Listening was reviewed in this space last week, has long been among the town's standard-bearers, and now Bob Colwell's Root Cellar, where Listening was recorded, is becoming a local focal point.

This week's Root Cellar product is the JT Lockwood Band's self-titled debut (Lockwood put out a solo album in 2006), an eight-song collection of rock-pop tunes, with a reggae number featuring a few Fogcutters on horns, that's as straight-ahead and frills-free as they come. These are largely earnest songs of the classic love-is-hard variety, where "my love is strong, but it's gonna take time" and "I believe that we could make this work."

Lockwood as frontman can come off pretty reedy, not quite a comfortable tenor but straining to get there as he emotes. On the opening "Left Behind" it almost sounds like the record's moving at 36 or 37 rpms, and the upward-moving riff progression is clunky.

"Decision," though, with a muted guitar open from Bert MacDonald, has some nice backing vocals to take the edge off and a chorus — "as first sign, at first touch" — that wants to be a pre-chorus for a big power-pop delivery that never quite comes. "Sing," a more-Stonesy number, also seems to be calling for a bigger impact.

There are definitely some high points. Justin Bureau's bass work on "Pick Up," featuring the slightly creepy line, "there's no way you're going home without me tonight," has a nice bounce to it, and Emily Page contributes fine accompanying vocals on "Better Off," which is catchy and warm.

The best track is probably "We've Got Each Other," which has a Spin Doctors pop-shuffle to it and features Lockwood in a more laidback delivery, with his vocals doubled, one in each channel. As poetry goes, though, "when you're tired and you want to rest/You can lay your head upon my chest" probably won't be remembered for posterity.

That's okay. This doesn't need to be the last word from Lockwood and crew.

THE JT LOCKWOOD BAND | Released by the JT Lockwood Band | at the Rack, at Sugarloaf | Feb 2 |  jtlockwood.com

  Topics: Music Features , Fogcutters
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