Natural Child shows shocking restraint on ‘Dancin’ With Wolves’

Album review: Natural Child’s ‘Dancin’ With Wolves’

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Natural Child
Dancin’ With Wolves
Burger Records

★★★ ★ (out of 5 stars)

For years, it seemed like Nashville country punks Natural Child would never grow up. Their riotous, beer-soaked live shows and liberal 420 references earned them nationwide notoriety, while the naked ass plastered on the cover of 2012 album For the Love of the Game said it all about their juvenile mindset. But on Dancin’ With Wolves, Wez Traylor, Zack Martin and Seth Murray inject an easygoing wisdom into their sound. The usual hard-drinking, free-spirited lyrical themes are present on “Firewater Liquor,” “Saturday Night Blues” and “Don’t the Time Pass Quickly,” but weepy pedal steel from new member Luke Schneider accentuates “Out in the Country” and “Rounder,” while subdued Southern-rock grooves and subtle keyboards from Benny Divine make closing trio “I’m Gonna Try,” “Nashville’s a Groovy Little Town” and “Dancin’ With Wolves” measured, reserved – even crisp. No one ever expected to describe a Natural Child record as an exercise in shockingly successful restraint. But as “Country Hippie Blues” says, “I’ve been known to cuss and fight/But I ain’t goin’ there tonight/I don’t need to cause a scene like I used to.”

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