The only complaint I can muster about “Smoking Gun,” the debut EP from Chris Smith-fronted country newcomers Carolinabound is that this sublime recording is just too darn short. With six tracks clocking in at a tidy 25 minutes, “Smoking Gun” could have gone on twice as long as far as I’m concerned.
Vocalist/guitarist Smith is a native of North Carolina and he’s joined in Carolinabound by bassist Jeremy Blake. They’ve cobbled together a terrific record — with help from Leo Grassl on pedal steel and Halli Anderson on violin — that has me eager to hear more from this up-and-coming band.
While there isn’t a weak link to be found on “Smoking Gun,” the very best cuts bookend the short-player. Opener “When I Was a Boy” and the set-closing title track are the cream of a very good crop, with Carolinabound also scoring with “Easy Train,” “The Last Ride,” “Chaos” and “Joy.” I just can’t recommend this one highly enough, folks. (Jeffrey Sisk)