Tender Mercies is comprised of Counting Crows members Dan Vickrey and Jim Bogios as well as Kurt Stevenson and Patrick Winningham. Their self-titled debut album tells the story of bandmates Dan, Kurt and Patrick, and the journey they’ve taken from their early playing days in the ‘90s to the present day.

Avid Counting Crows fans may recognize some songs off the disc. “Four White Stallions,” “Wiseblood” and “Mercy” have been and still are featured regularly on the Counting Crows’ tour setlist. These songs have all been out for quite a while now, and it’s about time Tender Mercies decided to record them all.

The opening track, “Safe And Sound,” kicks the album off with its beautiful lyrics and its fantastic combination of acoustic guitar, electric guitar and keyboards. Vickrey shines throughout the disc with his great solos, most notably closing out “Scarecrow” and “Riding Blind.”

“Ball And Chain” is the only track that poses a problem for me. The opening bass line and drum combo reminds me of “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash, which was featured on all those hotel commercials a while back. I have nothing against Johnny Cash, but having his voice echoing in my head impedes my ability to appreciate what might be a good song.

The closing title, “Faded Memories,” does exactly what any band wants out of its final track; it leaves you wanting more. The song ends with a buildup that seems like it’s paving the way for another great Vickrey solo, but it finishes right then and there. The lyrics are well written throughout, and the guitars and keyboard complement each other perfectly. Hopefully they don’t wait another couple decades before releasing their next record.

In A Word: Overdue

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