p>Singer/songwriter Bob Manor moves easily from amiable folk-rock to foreboding alt-country on the Getaway Drivers' varied new Americana CD. His best performance comes on "Billy," the fated tale of a young man who finally comes to terms with his decadent Daddy. He sounds sufficiently down-home on several tracks (see the John Prine-style "Bottle & Suitcase" and the Dylan-brushed "Mystified"), and many of his performances are amiable enough. But on "Billy" he adds some flinty reality to his grim narrative by employing a gravel-throated vocal style that fits hand-in-glove with its gray-toned vibe. Manor also scores points with "Shame," a loping folk-rocker that borrows its beat and some of its moody ambience from Neal Diamond's "Solitary Man."
While the Getaway Drivers often follow Manor's lead, some of the most balanced performances come on songs sung by fiddler Sheila Shigley, a veteran of the local Celtic music scene. Thanks to her bandmates' spare work on mandolin and cello and her own shimmering vocals, the country-folk love song "Stay" wouldn't sound out of place on Americana radio wedged between some Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris.
To be honest, not every track here is memorable. But the Getaway Drivers are clearly onto something. Once they find the right balance of their boy-girl vocals, they could find themselves making inroads into a much larger market.