The Lost Dogs
Real Men Cry
CCM Magazine November 2001
On its fifth career disc the all-star cast of Lost Dogs returns with plenty of classic-rock bite to match its country-inflected bark. Save for the late Gene Eugene (the band's former member and producer), veterans Terry Taylor, Mike Roe and Derri Daugherty coalesce to fashion an eclectic sound that suggests Merle Haggard colliding with The Eagles or Vigilantes of Love.
by David McCreary
Taking up where previous effort Gift Horse left off, Real Men Cry largely succeeds thanks to its deft combination of full-bodied music against stripped down production. Lost Dogs also benefits from the talents of two accomplished session players, bassist Tim Chandler (The Choir, Pierce Pettis) and drummer Frank Lenz (The Supertones, Justin McRoberts).
Taylor wrote most of the songs for this album, with subject matter ranging from the wacky to sublime. For instance, "Three Legged Dog," which smacks of Johnny Cash, is about, well, a "special" canine companion. "The Great Divide" underscores the purity of God's love, and "The Mark of Cain" presents a sobering reflection on the consequences of sin. All 13 tracks contain down-home, toe-tapping Americana that is as infectious as poison ivy at summer camp. And there's certainly enough meat on the bone of Real Men Cry to keep listeners satisfied for good, long spell.
CornerstoneFestival.com October 2001
The Lost Dogs may not be a "Supergroup" in terms of global popularity, but their amazing contribution to the world of Christian music certainly renders them as such in our corner of the world. This union of the front-men of Christian music's most undervalued and overqualified genre shaping bands; Daniel Amos, (Terry Taylor) The 77s, (Mike Roe) The Choir (Derri Daugherty) and Adam Again (Gene Eugene) brought boldly nostalgic, unflinchingly American music to the "alternative" trenches years before the No Depression scene would make Americana a viable musical undercurrent. Real Men Cry is their fifth studio project, and their first since the passing of Adam Again's Gene "Eugene" Andrusco.
The band's last effort, Gift Horse, was their first for BEC Recordings and their most focused project to date. The first two albums, 1991's Scenic Routes and 1993's Little Red Riding Hood stand as the band's most diverse collections. However, the almost equal contributions of songs by each member and the clearly delineated stylistic inclusions (Mike Roe brought the bluesy songs, Derri Daugherty the dreamy pop, Terry Taylor the country and Gene Eugene the soulful "alt" numbers,) left them sounding like a co-op of individual artists, not a real band. 1996's Green Room Serenade brought a more pronounced rock and alternative edge to the sound, perhaps influenced by Eugene's prolific work as a producer of the best fringey alt-rock acts in the Christian underground. Gift Horse, though, featured mostly songs written by Terry Taylor and arrangements that celebrated the artists' maturity as players. The result was a newly unified Lost Dogs "sound." Then tragedy struck.
A few months after Gift Horse was released Andrusco suddenly passed away of a massive brain aneurysm. Though shock and pain resonated through the ranks of the remaining Dogs and their fans, there was never any doubt they would continue on. In fact, their set at Cornerstone 2000 served as a moving tribute to Andrusco. The band performed again at Cornerstone 2001, probably the tightest and most prepared they have ever sounded, but the release of Real Men Cry is the first recorded output of this new three-legged Lost Dog.
First let it be said that Andrusco will be missed for as long as there are Christian artists willing to create non-commercial, painfully honest music about the human condition. His voice was a unique gift, mournful and full of soul, and his writing ached with the kind of self-awareness that most of us feel but could never muster in song. Real Men Cry is all about the sadness, humor and longing Andrusco represented to so many of his fans and obviously to the remaining members of the band. His absence is no pink elephant in the recording studio; it is meditated on, discussed, winked at and cried over.
There is no doubt that real men cried over Gene's passing. Taylor turns that obvious catalyst of emotional honesty into another brilliant examination of the frequent sadness of life. Though never specifically about Gene (with the obvious exception of the upbeat and humorous "Three Legged Dog,") Taylor explores sadness from the perspective of a civil war ghost watching his wife bury him, ("In The Distance,") and in the form of unmet longing for eternal peace, ("Golden Dreams.") The title track laments a man's emotional alienation of his lover as he hides his feelings behind the typical male wall of silence and detachment. Even the dark battle-dirge sounding "The Mark Of Cain" explores the pre-execution lament of a murderer. Taylor has grown into a master song crafter along the lines of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, and never has his gift for lyric shone more brightly than it does here.
Not that the entirety of Real Men Cry makes one want to cry in his or her root beer - far from it. "A Certain Love," "The Gates Of Eden," and "Wild Ride" stack the harmonies and jangly guitars on top of some good old fashioned pop tunes ala Tom Petty or The Byrds while their cover of the standard bluegrass gospel fave "Dust On The Bible" and the aforementioned "Three Legged Dog" get off some playful redneck country rompin'. There is also an unaccredited track at the end (like an elevator the button panel skips the 13th floor,) called "Lovely Man" sung beautifully by Roe. "The Great Divide," "Golden Dreams," and "No Shadow Of Turning" make sure that the tears are accompanied by resolute faith and hope.
Certainly Gene Andrusco is missed, but Taylor, Daugherty and Roe (along with some significant musical contributions by Phil Madeira) pay him the ultimate tribute by rattling on down the highways and byways singing songs, telling stories and offering much needed musical refreshment to those of us who tire of all things "extreme" and "alternative" after awhile. This dog's teeth are sharp, and he's not to be trifled with. He may be walking with a limp, but he's scrappy.
The Phantom Tollbooth October 2001
The new Lost Dogs is out, and it's creative, brilliant, magical and contains harmonies that Crosby, Stills and Nash would die for. Derri Daugherty, Mike Roe and Terry Scott Taylor have returned with a collection of thirteen new songs, some of which are among the best the band has ever released.
by Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock
The songs divide up as follows: one ("Dust on the Bible") is a cover of an old tune by Johnny and Walter Balles; one is a new song by Roe ("Lovely Man"); and the remaining eleven are Taylor compositions. The lead vocals are divided evenly between the guys and they sound great. It is a pleasure listening to this latest installment in an ongoing story. Along for the ride this time are Tim Chandler on bass, Frank Lenz on drums, Phil Madeira on guitar, B3 and accordion. Mike Knott contributes backing vocals on one song, and "Doctor Love" plucks the bass on a tune.
This album is a natural progression from their last effort, Gift Horse, in that it mines a country vein--it sounds like the guys have been indulging in Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard lately. There are also shades of early Eagles, and, of course, The Flying Burrito Bros. All of this makes for an absolutely phenomenal album. Just when you think these guys can't get any better, they pull this one out of their bag of tricks. The playing, the writing, the production and the engineering (Daughtery, with assistance from Chris Colbert) couldn't be any better. What started out as a side project a number of years ago has grown into one of the best bands around today.
From the pure energy of tunes like "A Certain Love" and "Wild Ride" to the gentleness and beauty of "Golden Dreams" and "The Great Divide," this could very well replace Daniel Amos' "Mr. Buechner's Dream" as album of the year. It's that good! "Golden Dreams" might just be the prettiest song that Taylor has ever written and considering the recent tragedies in New York City and Washington, DC, it just has a magical and a peacefully sad quality to it. Thanks a lot, guys, for a bright light in a time of darkness. May God be with you.
Christianity Today October 2001
At a Glance … despite the absence of member Gene Eugene, Lost Dogs soldier on with a new album that's as good as anything they've ever done.
by Russ Breimeier
The Lost Dogs made their debut nearly ten years ago as a collaboration between four Christian music veterans: Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos and the Swirling Eddies, Derri Daugherty of The Choir, Mike Roe of The 77s, and the late Gene Eugene of Adam Again. Despite the sudden loss of Gene last year, the other three guitarists/vocalists of Lost Dogs soldier on with their fifth album, Real Men Cry, joined this time by bassist Tim Chandler (The Choir, Daniel Amos), drummer Frank Lenz (Supertones, Fold Zandura), and keyboardist extraordinaire Phil Madiera.
For those not familiar with the band, Lost Dogs possesses a classic country rock sound. Sometimes they have enough of a country-blues style to remind you of music you'd expect at a truck stop or at the nearest roadhouse bar. More often than not, the Lost Dogs remind me of the '80's superstar group Traveling Wilburys, a similar collaboration of veteran artists performing simple country rock. In fact, you'll swear Terry Taylor sounds just like Tom Petty (who was a part of the Wilburys).
Real Men Cry carries on where the Lost Dogs' last album, Gift Horse, left off, with the band increasingly focusing their sound on country, bluegrass, and rock. Songs such as "A Certain Love" and "The Gates of Eden" have a jangly rock sound most reminiscent of The Byrds and the Traveling Wilburys. The band comes off as a bluegrass bar band in fun songs such as "Three-Legged Dog" and "When the Judgment Comes." The Lost Dogs also show some edgy alternative folk in "The Mark of Cain," which suits its portrait of a convicted murderer's last night before execution. And then there are the beautiful country ballads such as "The Great Divide" and "Golden Dreams," which feature the group's gorgeous three-part harmonies and a gentle "Happy Trails"-like sound. There's also the hidden track "Lovely Man," Mike Roe's first self-penned song in seven years, which sounds a little like something from a Merle Haggard album. In fact, the band claims Merle Haggard's latest album was a great inspiration for Real Men Cry.
The Lost Dogs are never going to be remembered as musical pioneers, but that's not really their goal. There's a familiarity to their music that makes them a lot of fun, but it's not all that different from a legendary vocalist doing an album of '50's doo-wop. You will, however, remember the Lost Dogs for doing something different in the Christian music genre and handling it with excellent musicianship, creative production, and thoughtful Christian lyrics. With songs that demonstrate our tendency to fall into temptation ("Wild Ride") and the unfailing mercy of our Lord ("A Certain Love," "When the Judgment Comes," and "No Shadow of Turning"), the Lost Dogs clearly have an understanding of our need for God's grace. Real Men Cry holds its own among the best works of the Lost Dogs, a band of musicians who continue to blaze their own unique trail in Christian music.
Daniel Amos' Terry Taylor (a big-time country music fan) lets the twang
thang fly, and Real men cry sounds real men home. Without the late Gene
Eugene (Adam Again), remaining Dogs Mike Roe (the 77s) and Derri daughtery
(the Choir) play acoustic and sing wistful harmonies with Taylor. Raw and ... real. B+
Christian Musician January 2002
The first "Dogs" album recorded without dear, departed member Gene Eugene, "Real Men Cry" shows a band moving forward with unity of purpose, bloodied but still with plenty of fight to them, or, as recounted in the wryly humorous "Three Legged Dog": "He's a three-legged dog, but he's still pretty good." Refining their brand of American roots music, Lost Dogs comes up aces with roots pop stompers like "A Certain Love," "Wild Ride," and "The Gates of Eden"; hayseed hoedowns like "When The Judgment Comes"; "Dust On The Bible" and "Three Legged Dog"; and more sober fare such as "Mark Of Cain"; the title track and the lovely and affecting "No Shadow Of Turning" featuring a beautiful vocal by Derri Daugherty. Perhaps most indicative of the Lost Dogs spirit is the Mike Roe sung untitled track "Lovely Man": an evocative self-examination of the "old man" or sin nature which is both perceptive and difficult commercially, apparently prompting the "aprent company" to leave the track un-credited in an effort to push an extra 7 copies of the record. As always, Lost Dog stalwart Terry Taylor wrote the bulk of the material.
Yeah, great country-rock-power pop very much in the vein of Rockpile/Nick
Lowe/Dave Edmunds and Walter Clevenger and it has plenty of bark to go
around. Also, you'll find strong veins and refrains of Traveling Wilburys
layered vocals and full-bodied music stylings. Featuring Terry
Taylor(Daniel Amos) and Michael Roe(the 77's), this toe-tapping, infectious slap of
power popping, vaguely Americana-tinged rock 'n roll and distinctively
country-inflected Beatlesque vocals are sure to please countless folks at
Not Lame. Combining expert rustic down-home playing, classic pop
songcraft, and superb vocals drenched with sadness and surprised by joy. A winner,
top-to-bottom and our highest recommendation.
The Lost dogs certainly do seem lost among their label-mates. Not too many other groups are bringing back traditional American music to the forefront of the new millenium. Terry Taylor and company do a great job mixing clever story-telling lyrics with twangy guitars and driving shuffle beats. From the rocking track "The Gates of Eden" to the tear-in-the-beer style of "Real Men Cry" to the more direct "Dust on the Bible" I immediately fell in love with this album. I highly recommend it for any Terry Taylor fan or for any fan of American Music in general.
Once again, like Gift Horse, Real Men Cry is a collection of
tunes penned by Terry Taylor and one traditional song ("Dust on the Bible").
Looking back over Terry's career one can see that there are very fertile
periods where he is very prolific. Now is one of those times. The sheer
magnitude of the releases he is responsible for over the last 24 to 36
months has not revealed one weak link or blasé song. Real Men Cry, like Mr.
Beuchner's Dream and Avocado Faultline exemplify Terry's songwriting talent.
He is more than a genius. He is the spokesman for transparent faith
communicated in song. These 13 new songs all have been what we have come to
expect from him: earthy, pithy, yet transcendent. The second track, "The
Gates of Eden" is a particularly moving piece. But like I said, all the
songs are great. There is always the temptation to say that the latest
album penned by Taylor is his greatest work to date, but that is only
partially true. It is true in the sense that he seems to put his "best"
into all he does-well, except maybe Sacred Cows . . . But suffice it to say
that if you enjoyed Gift Horse, you'll die for Real Men Cry. I'm sorry that
Gene is gone, but I feel confident that this album is the sort of thing he
would want them to do. The only thing that would make it better would be
for Gene to have been a part of it.
Gospelcom.net October 2001
If you have yet to discover the Lost Dogs it is to your poverty. Led by
Daniel Amos frontman Terry Taylor, Mike Roe of the 77's and Derri
Dougherty of the Choir they have created a group that I believe transcends their own
individual group (77's, DA, The Choir) efforts. They are the Christian
counterpart to the Traveling W's with Dylan & Co. Their style is eclectic
in nature borrowing from country, pop, rock-a-billy and good old southern
fried rock n' roll. The album's title is named "Real Men Cry" based upon
the heart felt sorrow of the band members at the loss of former Dogs
member Gene Eugene. Some of the highlights include "A Wild Ride" and "Dust On
The Bible. You would do well to pick up this disc.