This alt.country quintet of mountain men hail from the upstate New York capital district of Albany and their self-released sophomore effort (a reference to a city about two hours west) is chock full of banjos, dobros, mandolilns, and accordians, complemented by upright bass, guitar and drums. There?s a rural, backporch vibe to the songs, emphasized by pre-song chatter and countdowns which lend a live-in-the-studio feel and illustrate the relaxed atmosphere in which the album was recorded. Their voices blend as beautifully as their instruments with CSNY-quality harmonies throughout (check out the a capella midsection of ?You Can?t Just Get Up and Leave?). Throughout the nine tracks on this (too) short, half-hour album, you?ll be gently reminded of passive country rockers like Golden Smog (?Down By The Old Mainstream?), The Ass Ponys (?Electric Rock Music?), and Five Chinese Brothers (?Singer Songwriter Beggarman Thief?).
?No One Called You A Failure,? one of many highlights, illustrates the band?s strengths: perfect four-part harmonies blending seemlessly with the instruments, particularly Matthew Loiacano?s mandolin and Bob Buckley?s dobro. Perhaps the closest comparison might also be the most obscure, but fans of one of the earliest (and one of my favorite) alt.country bands (before the genre even had a name), Heartsfeld will definitely need to get this in their collection immediately. Others should seek out ?Foolish Pleasures? (Mercury, 1975) and see if ?Oneida Road? passes the litmus test to enter into the annals of essential alt.country releases. This is surely one of the finest the young century has produced and certainly one fans of bigger names in the genre like Wilco, The Jayhawks, and The Wallflowers should investigate. If there?s anything missing, the band could use a fiddler or violinist to round out their near-perfect sound, but what?s on display is very fine indeed! 9/10 -- Jeff Penczak (23 October, 2006)