"On the Shoulder" presents Rusty Speidel, Tom Goodrich, Michael Goggin and Michael Lille in their true element--onstage, singing familiar and not so familiar songs. That's something of a rarity these days, since the group's members now reside in different parts of the country, and only Lille is playing music full-time.
Recorded at the Wolf Trap Barns, the album doesn't fully capture the breadth of the group's repertoire, which explain why the crowd response seems oddly subdued for an SGG&L concert.
But the emphasis on acoustic ballads allows the quartet to show off its tight harmonies and considerable songcraft, and that combination alone should be enough to keep longtime fans satisfied.
Once again Lille's contributions stand out.
In addition to possessing the most distinctive and expressive voice in the group, he wrote or co-wrote several of the album's strongest songs, including the torchy "Thanks to That Woman," the cowboy musing "A Childhood Dream," and, best of all, the western swing-flavored put-down, "Dream On." Bracketing "Dream On" are Speidel's catchy "City Girl" and a harmonious, fingerpopping reprise of "Mack the Knife." All three songs bring the album to an upbeat close.
Appearing at The Barns of Wolf Trap Friday and Saturday.
* To hear a free Soundbite from SGGL, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8111. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)