With Takin' on the Rain, Madison's Calico Drifters deliver another easily digested collection of high-lonesome folk-rock and Americana. In fact, even when he's singing about stealing a car in Tennessee and doing a bleak wintertime stretch in the Saskatoon jail on the brooding title track, lead male singer Thomas Burns comes across as one of the most reflective ruffians you'd ever want to meet.
That's not a failing, though. Burns and the Drifters' considerably more countrified female singer, Sue Prodell, may be anything but gritty performers, but they manage to catch the subtleties of a troubled mind and the flickering warmth of a temporary love with real grace. If I have one complaint, it's that Burns sometimes works too hard at emulating the portentous, deep-voiced Dylan of the mid-'70s. But when he harmonizes with Prodell on the honeysuckle-sweet refrain of "Somebody's Beautiful Baby," it's easy to forgive him for overreaching.