Buxton’s Country-Rock Mash-Ups Make For A Compelling Debut

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"By all outward indications, Buxton is a full-fledged country band given the acoustic guitar and banjo that kick off “Wolves And Owls” on Nothing Here Seems Strange. But that intro hardly tells the story of this Houston-based band. Yes, the band clearly has country leanings, but more along the alt-lines pioneered by the Flying Burrito Brothers and early Bryds. “Broke From Bread,” in fact, sounds like a missing Burritos B-side with stinging guitar over edgy yet twangy harmony. The album is a study in contrast as lush strings wrap folk-y melodies; gritty rock guitar and drumming bumps against classic country applications. There is also the’ Appalachia-inspired “Boy of Nine,” the Wilco-esque rock-forward “Blown a Fuse,” and straight-up vintage country with “Down in the Valley.” The band further fleshes out songs with tasteful use of pedal steel, trumpet, piano, accordion and melodica in just the right places. The tight musical interplay stands out, as well, but it’s the loose in-the-same-room feel of the music that shines through for added enjoyment.Nothing Here Seems Strange, set for release Jan. 31, is a great listen for causal country fans and hard-cores alike. —Glenn BurnSilver