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Bill Janovitz


Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janovitz released his solo debut in 1997, five years after his Boston trio captured the widespread attention of the Indie Rock nation with the classic Let Me Come Over. On his criminally underappreciated Lonesome Billy, Janovitz's husky voice presides over a collection of charmingly shambling, rickety hoedowns ("Strangers," "Ghost In My Piano"), stunning solo ditties ("Talking To The Queen," "Shoulder"), and heart-killing ballads (the album-closer "Red Balloon"). "Medicated country" may be the apt tag for Janovitz's left turn from the Power Pop inclinations of Buffalo Tom, but dig a little deeper and you'll be surprised: the austere piano tinkling and drawn-out vocal enunciations that mark his version of the old Rodgers/Hart standard "My Funny Valentine" fit the song's ragged, spooky beauty perfectly. It's almost always a major bummer when an artist follows the same path as his/her prior band, so it's refreshing to hear Bill Janovitz write songs that sound at home on the range rather than merely ape his band's noisy, melodic anthems.
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