Review - Learning How to Live

Artist: Mike Ireland & Holler

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Folks from Atlanta and other "Southern progressive" hotbeds might not find this debut from Mike Ireland -- the former leader of alt-country band the Starkweathers -- terribly innovative. Country-radio aristocrats probably would be agog at the blasphemy of simple country tunes (with strings) about ordinary folks with everyday lives, loves and heartbreak, as represented by "Gen-U-Wine Honkey Tonk" and a cover of Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue." The ghosts of George Jones and Billy Sherrill are all over this disc like butter on grits, but Ireland's got a couple of addictions and divorces to experience before he ascends to country-hero status.

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