Though named for a sticky situation resulting from an act of deceit, Trick Bag by Ian Kent and the Immigrants is an incredibly honest album. It bears the marks of a seasoned songwriter with bag of musical tricks deep enough to lend song to this collection of heartfelt memories. Throughout, the band hitchhikes their way through the soundscape of American music like the protagonist of "Central New York Blues." "Seven Seven Man" is a lip-curling love proposal with a rock 'n roll swagger lent by Kent's slide dobro, while "Ricochet Romance" has a Buddy Holly-like poignancy with the added slap of Thomas Lorioux's bass. Ballads like "Time Gone Bye" and "Angel" foreground Kent's mandolin and harmonizing, while "Little Things" is a grown-up love song backed by Hammond organ that testifies to the true importance of the quotidien. When anger does stir, it is because Kent knows that the romantic transcendence promised by the pop song is a trick bag of sorts, and that real lovers never quite measure up to the "Girl in the Song." But if Kent ducks top-40 superficiality, he certainly knows how to Polish an old hook: his take on "Dearest Darling" grabs you like a shot of tequila that goes straight to your dancing shoes. With "Tijuana," the band climbs into western swing for a kiss-off love song and Dimitri Artemenko takes his fiddle out for a quick desert ride. "Better Days," a honky-tonk ditty about enduring the bad times, sounds like something Nick Lowe wishes he would have written in his better days. Trick Bag works it's way through the ups and downs of a life well-lived and the only downer here is that it has to end, a theme touched on by "The End of Something," a thrill-is-gone ballad about knowing when to throw in the towel; but as Kent reminds us, "sometimes a little taste of freedom is better than no taste at all."