Lost alt-country classic returns.
It’s hard to say exactly what kept The Blue Shadows' lone album, 1993’s On The Floor of Heaven, from becoming known as a roots-rock/alt-country classic of its time. Was it because they were based in Canada? Was it some kind of snobbery about the fact that they were led by Bill Cowsill, of ‘60s sunshine-pop outfit The Cowsills? Maybe it was just bad timing, since the album arrived a couple of years ahead of the mid-‘90s alt-country boom. Whatever the reason, those who missed On The Floor of Heaven the first time around have been given another shot, with a deluxe reissue that sweetens the deal with a second disc of previously unreleased material. From the very beginning of the album, The Blue Shadows’ sharp-shooting blend of Bakersfield country, British Invasion rock & roll, and Everly Brothers harmonies leaps from the speakers: opening track “Coming On Strong,” driven by twangy guitar and gutsy fiddle, is so impossibly infectious it’s difficult to believe there’s not some alternate universe where it’s covered on a nightly basis by bar bands the world over. That same urgency is maintained throughout the album, even when the Shadows are letting a lambent ballad simmer.