Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 21, 2006
The Crosses (Saustex Media)
When you consider the number of roots-rock acts emerging in the last decade, it's a short-jump conclusion to assume the genre's sheer playability. Very few, however John Fogerty and Jay Farrar come to mind have done it with anything approaching the dazzling electricity and personal style necessary to stand above the flanneled masses. Eric Hisaw's predicament is that he's one of the many, and The Crosses, his third album, offers nothing to distinguish him from the herd. His husky vocals are stuck in one gear, at times reaching a mumble that's distracting, even bothersome, for someone who thinks enough of his lyrics to include them in the liner notes. His songs are played adequately, the presence of such top sidemen as Ron Flynt on bass and keyboards and Chip Dolan on accordion a decided plus. Yet Hisaw rarely reaches for those moments of extra energy that would place them above cliché. Then there's an attempted cover of Taj Mahal's "Farther On Down the Road" that sucks the blues out of a standard and turns it into an rambling wreck. In the end, it's ironic that Hisaw offers a great summation of The Crosses with one of his own song titles, "Wasted My Time."