The Mint
The Players: Steven Casper, lead vocals and guitar; Glen Lynskey, lead guitar; Herb Dietelbaum, bass, backup vocals; Rose Levinson, violin, backup vocals; Jay Nowac, drums.

Material: If country music originated in the Allman Brothers' backyard, this is what it would sound like. Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst take liberties with both country music and Southern rock, but they do so in the best possible way. Casper has a knack for writing originals that sound like covers. Musically, the songs are immediately familiar, and even predictable. Though that's usually a negative characteristic, Casper and company make it work. Consequently, the material's familiarity is comforting and enjoyable -- a good trick, if you can pull it off.

Musicianship: The musicianship in this group is outstanding. Composed of seasoned players, these guys would even impress other musicians. Casper's voice like his music, is familiar in tone and expression. So much so, that you could swear you've heard it somewhere before, like perhaps in a commercial. His band is no less impressive. The rhythm section of Dietelbaum and Nowac are the perfect backdrop, while Levinson and Lynskey add just the right atmosphere to the music. Together, this act has something special going on.

Performance: Casper was generous with his players, allowing Levinson and Lynskey time for solos. There was also good camaraderie among the band members and Casper connected strongly with the audience. The only aspect that could show improvement involved the visuals. For pro-type players, who should know better, they didn't dress for the occasion. They have looked more like a band to complete the package. Nonetheless, it didn't affect the music.

Summary: Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst are remarkable in their predictability. Because of that, they could provider music supervisors with a library of choices. In fact, publishers should probably take note while they can. This is a band that could make a very good living supplying the music for film and television projects.

--Bernard Baur,