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Album review: Bottles and harmony ring in Craig Marshall's 'After All'
By Doug Hill / Norman Transcript, Norman, OK

Craig Marshall is based in Austin but his sixth album sounds as if it rode straight out of Nashville on the pedal steel guitar, fiddle and mandolin express. The Syracuse, New York native has been writing songs for 30 years.

His experience is evident in these ten well-crafted originals. Marshall relocated to Texas in the early 1990s with now defunct The Delta Rays.

Marshall then fronted nostalgia-fueled swing band The Lucky Strikes. The album’s title track is country music staple “Heartbreak City.” Love’s “mystery is history” and it turns out he never really understood her heart after all.

You can almost hear a neon PBR sign crackling and bottles clinking in the background. Marshall’s voice is at its most plaintive on “I Can’t Begin to Know.” The word “mystery” appears in the lyrics again with the song chronicling a relationship heading the same direction as the one in “After All.”

That would be Splitsville. A melancholy tone and gentle tempo predominate throughout. Four different backing harmony vocalists echo Marshall on most tracks. There’s some mighty pretty singing using that formula on “Back for More” and “The Only Sound.” It’s what you’d expect after all from this veteran vocalist.

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