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Record Review

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When elementary school listeners start singing along in the van to a singer/songwriter who wasn't aiming at them, you can bet your Barney doll that there are some catchy tunes and lyrics going down. In the case of Beaver Nelson, as with Mike Viola of the Candy Butchers, that's good news for grown-ups as well.

Listening to Motion, you can hear how kids are easily drawn to the wily wording and effervescent, guitar-driven melodies of some of Motion's ditties, if not also to flashes of pottyish humor (don't tell their mothers). But the album moves well beyond that with its rocking declarations of love and slow ballad entreaties to his mate and to an apparently Christian deity. Nelson's wailing voice, as scruffy as his physical appearance, works well in all these styles, and longtime bandmates Jud Newcomb (electric guitars), Stephen Belans (drums, percussion), and Josh Gravelin (bass) dispense tangy country and rousing power rock as needed.

-- Jeff Kaliss

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