Paste (magazine) - "THOSE PRETTY WRONGS is overall a triumph for Stephens and Russell. The artistry and craftsmanship of the lyrics and songwriting brings up memories of Elliot Smith and James Taylor."
Personnel: Jody Stephens (vocals, drums, percussion, background vocals); Luther Russell (guitar, keyboards, background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Jason Hiller; Luther Russell.
Recording information: Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN.
Those Pretty Wrongs is the eponymous debut of a collaboration between Big Star founding member/drummer Jody Stephens and guitarist Luther Russell, ex-frontman of the Freewheelers. The longtime friends played together for the first time when Stephens asked Russell to join him in performances at screenings of the 2012 documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. That led to a songwriting partnership encouraged by positive feedback on their earliest songs. Notably Stephens' first turn on lead vocals, his voice brings a folky warmth to the likewise warm and wistful tunes, their nostalgic character perhaps amplified by the use of the late Chris Bell's guitars from Big Star's #1 Record, as well as Stephens' kit from Radio City and 3rd. Refreshingly unprocessed guitar arrangements are one of the two stars of the album, along with vocal lines that remind us how rare direct, sweetly melodic storytelling is in the omnipresent music of the 2010s. Tight, multi-part vocal harmonies grace opener "Ordinary," a ballad that also employs string voices, bass, and blended electric and acoustic guitars. Seemingly mixed and performed for a target audience of one, the intimate song's vocals reassure "It's okay to be ordinary." While, as on that song, Russell's deft, efficient guitar work can be heard across the album, it's particularly sparkling on "Start Again," a song that also excels at turns of harmonic progression. Efficiency is a trait of Those Pretty Wrongs as a whole -- even when flügelhorn appears on the closer, "The Heart," it's with light-handed piano, bass, and acoustic guitar, and plenty of breathing room. Taken together, the album is almost nourishing in its sparse elegance and unabashed sincerity. In a year that's seeing, among other celebrations of the past, a Monkees record commemorating that band's 50th anniversary, those able to embrace the nostalgic qualities with open arms will find moments of beauty and comfort here. ~ Marcy Donelson