Mike June & The Dirty Doves
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Mike June & The Dirty Doves

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The best kept secret in music


"Crooked ****"

The Star Ledger

Sunday, February 2, 2003


Mike June & The Dirty Doves

Junedog Records

*** of 4 (stars)

Formerly the leader of the band Wide Load Joad, June recorded this new album with his group, The Dirty doves, after just 5 shows. It's a suprisingly mature effort, with alt-country overtones but a scruffy charm all its own.

A Bergen county native who now lives in Hoboken, June has a ragged but expressive voice that's perfect for his earnest songwriting. the leadoff track, "New York Radio," has the hyper, romantic feel of early Springsteen. "Somewhere across the Hudson in the heart of a small town/People shuffle their feet some are trying hard to get out/ jukeboxes in the bars are all broken and bust down/ There ain't nobody listening," June sings over a brisk beat. Some of the riffs seem borrowed a little too directly from Springsteen's "Rosalita," but the bands uninhibited swagger makes the song work anyway, and Bob Miano's pedal-steel guitar solo adds a truly distinctive touch.

"Burgundy and Brown" is another reckless rock tune, though most of this seven-track album is slower and moodier, without suffering from aloss of intensity. June occasionally resorts to melodramatic cliches ("I can see the salvation in those turnpike lights," he sings n the road song "Losing the Day"), but his voice never loses that yearning edge, and the perfectly named Dirty Doves back him with grit and grace."

- Jay Lustig

- Newark Star Ledger

"Crooked ****"

January 8th, 2003

Mike June and the Dirty Doves

Artist(s): Mike June & The Dirty Doves
Album: Crooked
Label: Self Released
Available: Available Now
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Review by: Doug Floyd

The Dirty Doves are the band built around singer songwriter Mike June who has been around the music business for a while both as an artist and as an artists rep. Based in the New Jersey area and built upon the foundations of former bar band Wide Load, Mike June and the Dirty Doves by process of osmosis at the very least, have absorbed some of that Springsteen Asbury Park sound. Yet by the addition of a subtle splash of country the band manages to create and uphold a style that is singular and well worth checking out. The biggest selling point of this album is undoubtadly its abundant passion, and it is my belief that this is the album of someone really in touch with their soul, who has poured their heart out into their music. June’s vocals are on the throaty side of rock ‘n’ roll, but equally adept at handling the slow burning ballad “Leaving Memphis” or on the straight through the heart power rock of “Burgundy and Brown”. The band in support are pretty tight and there is a definite sense of veracity and belief in what they are about, to sum it up...the whole album sounds like they meant it!

‘Crooked’ is comprised of a mere seven tracks (eight with the hidden one) however that transpires to be more than your full moneys worth when the album clocks in at just a snip over the forty minutes without a wasted beat or note. “New York Radio” launches the album with a static encrusted Jerry Lee Lewis’ singing “Great Balls of Fire”, this segues into a marvellous opener which wears its Springsteen influence high on its sleeve making for a “Rosalita” for the Twenty first century. Following on “Shoot to Slide” is the absolute prime cut of the set, brooding and rippling along its course, taking in some wailing wha-wha-ed guitar and building to a pounding crescendo that is something to behold. The mix does let it down a little, with the flurry of acoustic guitars that provide the backbone fading a little too far into the distance at times, but at the end of its glorious procession. Nevertheless you will just wind it back and play it over and over again despite. Title track “Crooked” brings things back to a more sedate pace, with some subtle Hammond lines paying its dues courtesy of Rob Babb. Special mention should be made at this point for Bob Miano whose pedal steel playing really has a diamond touch. Present on most of the tracks on the album, its refined handling is really a joy in these days of overstatement…every slippery, smooth and shimmering line is poised and incisive, nothing wasted.
“Anywhere” is a pleasant mid paced rocker with a nice little hook to it taking us to “Loosing the day” which is the key ballad of the album and the next best thing to the aforementioned “Shoot to Slide”. Opening up with deft acoustic guitars and a tender lead lines, a tale of drifting and driving which boasts some gorgeous flickering keyboards that send shivers down the spine, with again that choice steel sound that crystallises everything. The set finishes up with a poignant and powerful “Leaving Memphis” which comes in at number three in the tip tracks list and leads us into the obligatory hidden track at the very end.

This album is a stirring listen, possessing a kind of dynamic that induces your involvement. Whether that is conjured by the melodic compositions, or the vocals or the lyrics is something that is difficult to distinguish as they are all on a par, whatever the magic ingredient is...it works. There is not a single bad track on the record and although stylistically the sound is undoubtedly“New Jersey” there is enough of the extra ‘something’ to make it stand by itself and be counted. There are a few small criticisms, mainly in terms of the production, which on times is a little ‘woolly’ and the mixing does occasionally bury some of the ingredients a little too far into the mix for my liking. These small discrepancies aside, this is a fine record and one which deserves a chance to be heard, and it works especially well played loud!

New York Radio
Shoot To Slide
Losing The Day
Burgundy and Brown
Leaving Memphis

Crooked is available at www.cdbaby.com

- Altcountrytab.com


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