Assembled and led by Bernie Taupin, known best for being the lyrical half of an extremely successful and long-running songwriting collaboration with Elton John, Farm Dogs is a labor of love for the storyteller, who has always been infatuated with American roots music. It was his intention to make a record that captured that simple uncluttered sound. Therefore the idea behind the Farm Dogs' project was to use only acoustic instruments, which the band stuck to except for the use of percussion and some sparse electric guitar for effect. The album was recorded at Taupin's home studio in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he runs a ranch with his wife. Since his childhood, Taupin has been fascinated by American culture and the wild, wild West, so it's not surprising that the John album Tumbleweed Connection was Taupin's vision and that the Farm Dogs project brings him full circle. For Taupin, Last Stand in Open Country picks up where Tumbleweed Connection left off, with the new songs bringing to life a string of colorful characters that include fast women, drunkards, misfits, and movie stars. Immigrant Sons followed in 1998. Along with Taupin, Farm Dogs is comprised of guitarist Jim Cregan and guitarist/dobro player Robin LeMesurier, both of whom have served long tenures as sideman for Rod Stewart. Rounding out the group is Dennis Tufano, former lead singer for the '60s group the Buckinghams. Tufano also worked on Taupin's second solo album, He Who Rides the Tiger. Taupin's other efforts include an early-'70s, self-titled spoken word album, as well as his third solo project, Tribe. ~ Jack Leaver, Rovi

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