In the Jukebox: The Mason Dixon Band 

A review of the country-rock group's debut

The Mason Dixon Band
The Mason Dixon Band of South Carolina: Volume 1

The Mason Dixon Band plays country music. That means simple lyrics about simple problems with simple music — simply the way country was meant to be. One of the busier contemporary country/Southern rock bands in the Charleston area, the Mason Dixon Band stays busy playing bars, VFW halls, outdoor festivals, and charity events.

Lead singer Roddy Akers sounds more like Ronnie Van Zandt than Kenny Chesney. Brothers Keith Clayton and Kevin Clayton have impeccable timing between their guitar and drums along. There's an occasional bass solo from Phillip Humbert as well. The band recorded this 12-song debut at Studio Blacktree on Johns Island last winter and spring.

The first line of the album speaks volumes without saying much: "You got that bedroom look in those country girl eyes." The next track, "Make Room on the Floor," has a menacing guitar intro for a raunchy dance ballad. Every classic country album needs a sappy romance song, and "Unspoken Promises" delivers it with a slow tempo and whining steel guitar in the background. "Ain't Dead Yet" is the best track on the album because it sounds more like a snippet from life on the road than just another folk diddy.

The remaining tracks deal with love at first sight and alcoholic girlfriends that just won't clean up their acts. "Cryin' Over My Beer" ties up the album nicely by featuring Akers' clever songwriting, an old country tale that we never hear enough of and an ironic twist at the end. The boys of the Mason Dixon Band know what they are, and they aren't ashamed of it. They make country music, plain and simple. (

The Mason Dixon Band performs on Fri. Dec. 18 at Birdie & Sharon's in Walterboro, and on New Year's Eve at Famous Joe's Bar & Grill in West Ashley (1662 Savannah Hwy.).

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