CMJ / John Cate Band

Though the John Cate Band is essentially a sizzling Americana outfit, it’s impossible to deny the shades of John Lennon and Roy Orbison that permeate its sound. Cate’s voice may be closer to an earthier Mellencamp, but “Standin’ Here Alone” shares Orbison’s affinity for soaring melodies and Tom Petty’s love for harmonica-drenched folk-rock arrangements. “Invisible Man,” a song about a disappearance due to neglect, manages to capture some of Lennon’s caustic solo attitude without sounding overly Beatle-y. Like Lennon, Cate was born in Liverpool, but he was raised mostly in the US. Perhaps that’s why his music so effectively straddles both sides of the pond in a first-rate roots-rock fashion.

– David Avery