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CD REVIEW

THE PUDDLE JUMPERS/CHOICES (Golden Goose Records)

The Puddle Jumpers are a folk/rock band hailing from Seattle, Washington. "Choices" is the band’s second independent release, and very likely one of their last. This band is very talented and is just screaming out for the attention a major label. They’re also quite apt at the promotion, packaging, and production of their work. There’s definitely a professional attitude surrounding everything associated with this band.

The Puddle Jumpers are Tom Austin (5-string bass and vocals), David McGrath (guitars and vocals), George Michael (guitar and vocals), George Short (drums and percussion), and Rick Vartian (octave mandolin, vocals, and keyboards). They began in 1995 as a 3-piece acoustic folk/rock group and expanded to a 4-piece band before recording their debut CD, "Out Of The Shadows", in 1996. Later in that same year a fifth member was added and the band gelled into the current lineup that we have before us.

"Choices" is an excellent effort throughout and is very likely to make my own ‘best of ‘98’ listing. The band’s greatest assets are it’s superb musicianship, interesting songwriting, and great vocal harmonies. They also refuse to limit themselves as far as musical styles are concerned. "Dead Of The Night" and "Pay The Piper" are two of the best tracks here and they could simultaneously be described as folk, rock, and even progressive. The band seems to favor letting the song take them wherever it may, and has the talent to do so. When playing this CD, the listener is allowed to join the band on this musical joyride.

The band can be contacted through the link to their homepage, to the left of this review.

Don Donofrio-1/99