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Sound Check

August 11, 2011

Rock the Cradle Lullabies

"Dreamin' With Def Leppard"

Entertainment One Music

Admittedly, the thought of converting the music of '80s metal legends Def Leppard into soothing ballads designed to put kids to sleep might seem strange, but "Dreamin' With Def Leppard" might be the musical cure to sleepless nights for aging rockers with fussy young children. Featuring performances by Def Leppard guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, the album includes 12 instrumental versions of the band's biggest hits like "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Hysteria," "Photograph," "Foolin'," "Animal" and "Rock of Ages" that go beyond simple keyboard and exylophone production. If anything, this treatment of the band's most famous songs reveals the staying power of the band's melodies. Granted, the grooves and solos are designed to lull kids to sleep, but they might appeal to aging parent/rocker generation. CV

(Def Leppard plays the Iowa State Fair Grandstand on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. $49.)

Josh Slone & CoalTown

"Josh Slone & CoalTown"

Rural Rhythm Records

Reading the notes to this album, the instrumentation of the members of Josh Slone & CoalTown — Josh Slone (vocals, guitar), Mike Mullins (mandolin), Ollie Risner (banjo), Cole Spears (acoustic bass) and special guests who play dobro and fiddle — suggests that this band's new self-titled album fits squarely in the "bluegrass" category. Yet a few minutes into the record, it is quite clear that this is a country music band influenced by bluegrass, thanks in part to the lead singer's booming baritone voice that lends itself well to songs like "Daddies Don't Cry," "Destination Heartache," "Mama's Midnight Alter Calls," "A Lovin' Man" and "Cold As Ice." For good measure, several unheralded, but talented songwriters contributed songs to this project, including Larry Cordle, Brandon Rickman and Mike Evans. CV

(Josh Slone & CoalTown play Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 9:30 p.m. at the Vaudeville Mews. $15.)

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