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Album: Tim O'Brien, Chameleon (Proper American)

A solitary bespectacled American in a friend's garage, armed with his "hillbilly apparatus" – a banjo, a fiddle, a Forties Gibson, a Thirties Martin, a bouzouki, a mandolin and a bunch of pulpy songs licked together from the tropes of the American folk tradition, all of them solo performances with a single instrument.

It's lovely, if soft as a house cat. Typical sentiment: "This World Was Made for Everyone". Alternative typical sentiment: "Get Out There and Dance". Kelly Joe Phelps fans will appreciate the vibe but feel that it lacks serious poetry. Me, I think it's as sweet as American pie.