This smooth little "hoe-down" with its clearly defined cowboy/western swing edge might take one a few listens to get acclimated but, once you’re on board, Cow Bop’s Route 66 is quite the interesting project.
No doubt that guitarist Bruce Forman’s slick strumming and light, airy riffs helped to steady this recording in the ears of folks like me who might have otherwise taken a pass on this one. Forman has a nice critic fan base, including DownBeat, Jazziz, and JazzTimes. We add Jazzreview’s affirmative nod, as well. His unimposing yet confident style shines throughout.
The smoky, "yee haw"-style vocals of Pinto Pammy add an interesting quality to this project and give it a unique punch. Pammy struts her bluesier side with tunes like "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," a sassy little ditty that just gently sways along the way like a lazy afternoon stroll in the park. Add saxophonist Noel Jewkes and you’ve got a delightful "time-out" from your hectic day.
A lot of this album is set in a mood reminiscent of the Roy Rogers/Audie Murphy barroom music/singers scene (listen to the lyrics and melody of the tribute to Texas living on "When the Bloom Is On the Sage," and you’ll get my point). That’s kinda cute, actually. Its light swing, the fiddle, and the piano and vocal styles all pitch in to this "round ‘em up" porridge of sorts.
The blues and jazz elements can definitely and easily be located on this album (witness the classic Route 66)--right smack in the middle of this foot-tapping swingfest, and it will have a favorable impact on many listeners. While not necessarily material I’d personally rush out to grab, this album has very decent merit.