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Chris Allen 

Goodbye Girl and the Big Apple Circus (

The Story of Gasoline continues on Goodbye Girl and the Big Apple Circus, the solo debut from ex-Rosavelt singer-guitarist Chris Allen. In a hung-over daze, the doomed party boys in his tunes aren't sure where their weekends went wrong or why a string of girls decided to leave them.

With the jangling title track and barroom anthem "Tilt-A-Whirl," the disc opens like a Northeast Ohio roots-rock Replacements, winds down into pickled back-bar rock, and descends into blues as the buzz gets harsher. Producer Don Dixon (R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw) plays bass, sings expertly hoarse backup vocals, and corrals local notables, including bluesman Austin "Walkin' Cane" Charanghat and lead guitarist-longtime bandmate Doug McKean, who lends his pen to several unsettled reflections on getting older and losing your grip. Their life may be a wreck, but the more they drink, the better their music gets.

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