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COUNTRY ROUNDUP

Platte River Crossing Delivers First CD : The debut album by the popular Simi Valley-based group is due out next week and has been getting good local radio play.

August 04, 1994|ROBYN LOEWENTHAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

While listening to the radio last week, I flashed back to my junior high days of Beatlemania. Those who remember that Paul McCartney was in another band before Wings also undoubtedly went through a ritual with befuddled parents that went something like this: "Paul's the cute Beatle. John's the serious one. George is the quiet one. And Ringo's the funny one."

Last Thursday afternoon, instead of singing the praises of John, Paul, George and Ringo, Thunder Country (105.5 FM) deejay Bob Allen introduced "Al, Ron, Michele and, of course, Bruce" and the first single off their new CD.

Yep, you heard right. Sandwiched between hits by Doug Stone and Little Texas were the harmonizing fellas we know as Platte River Crossing or the "Country Beatles."

Since hitting the local country scene in June, 1993, the Simi Valley-based band has gained popularity in our area, in addition to playing clubs in the San Fernando Valley and Orange County.

And "Sleeping With My Boots On," a self-produced debut effort on Farm Boy Records, is worth hearing--although some songs are more memorable than others.

The band will offer its new release starting next week when it plays at Alexander's Two-Stepping Tuesday Country Dance Night. And the band's appearance Aug. 27 at the Ventura Theatre Country Night will double as a CD release party. In addition to hearing their usual music, you can look forward to a set of original cuts off the album, which are also very danceable.

But for now, you'll have to listen to Thunder Country radio to hear some of the tunes, which have been getting air play since June 21.

"I wanted to present them to the public as the exciting, high-energy band they are when you see them in concert. So I started with 'High Life,' 'Prickly Pete' and 'Nobody Else to Hear' rather than the ballads, which are also great," Allen said.

"But I didn't want the initial impression to associate them musically with John Michael Montgomery or Doug Stone. So I went for the more fun sound of 'Trashy Women' and 'Confederate Railroad.'

"I've picked one as a single already," Allen added. "It's the No. 1 cut called 'Nobody Else to Hear.' It's the most unique, fun-sounding song on the CD, I think. And I have had the best response from callers."

Indeed, the introductory hook on this yee-haw, thigh-slappin' 10-step written by Al Sorena (lead vocals, bass) grabs you right off the bat, thanks to Sardinian import Michele Taras, a shredder lead guitarist who joined the group a few months ago. Taras, who is not pictured because he's visiting Italy, also plays dobro and mandolin on the album.

"Nobody Else to Hear" was written by Sorena and is performed by Ron Platt (lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar). Most of the songs were written by Platt or Sorena. Former band member Lane Wesley and Dave Seal collaborated or wrote a couple of tunes. Randy Carpenter of another local group, Cactus County, contributed harmonica, and Rick Sailon plays fiddle on some cuts. Band leader Bruce Seidel plays drums.

Seidel lays down a great train beat on another noteworthy song--the last cut, "Appalachian Express." Platt wrote and sings this fast 10-step, which makes a good signature piece when performed in the clubs. But don't expect to hear the train sounds at the end.

"The real train sounds you hear at the end of the CD were recorded behind my house," Platt said. "We mixed a Metrolink and a freight train."

Details

* WHO: Platte River Crossing.

* WHAT: Country Dance Night.

* WHERE: Alexander's, 1080 Schooner Drive, Harbortown Marina Resort, Ventura.

* WHEN: 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesday.

* ETC: Locally, the band will also perform Friday and Saturday at Cousin's Country Saloon, 2381 Tapo St., Simi Valley, 522-2559; and Aug. 27 at Ventura Theatre Country Dance Night, 26 S. Chestnut St., 648-1888. For more Platte River Crossing play dates or to receive their newsletter, call the hot line: (818) 594-7322.

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