Posts Tagged ‘Lost Highway’

Lyle Lovett: Songs for the Season

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

A three-song holiday treat from Lyle Lovett

This three-song EP from Lyle Lovett includes jazzy covers of Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” and Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with vocalist Kat Edmonson serving as harmonist and foil. There’s also a sly new original, “The Girl with the Holiday Smile.” The latter is slated to reappear on Lovett’s next album, but the cool yuletide covers are only available here. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Lyle Lovett’s Home Page

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses: Roadhouse Sun

Monday, June 8th, 2009

ryanbingham_roadhousesunPreternaturally weary and wizened country-rock

Ryan Bingham sounds more road-weary and wizened than can scarcely be imagined for a twenty-eight year old. He’s a hoarse-voiced troubadour in the mold of Dylan and Earle, a rocker in the sing-song vein of Willie Nile and Steve Forbert, a rousing melodist ala Bruce Springsteen, and a dusty Westerner (born in New Mexico, but raised in rural Texas) whose roots also touch John Mellancamp’s heartland. Like fellow Texan Jack Ingram’s early days touring the state’s elaborate network of bars and dance halls, Bingham displays an unbridled urgency to communicate with each performance. The provenance of his gravel-stained voice includes an early exit from parental supervision and hard years of independent living on the rodeo circuit. With such experiential riches, you’d expect Bingham’s songs to dig into emotional pain, fate, self-reliance, resurrection, hard work, or realized dreams, and while his band (under the baton of the Black Crowes’ Marc Ford) gives fiery and impassioned performances to match the vocals, the lyrics don’t always make as strong an impression. The dues paying “Roadhouse Blues,” for example, includes images of wanderers, badlands, freight trains and long-haul trucks that aren’t quite convincing as vivid memories. The sound of Binham’s voice and the power of his band’s playing are enough to carry this release, but listeners may be left feeling he hasn’t fully connected with his own story. There’s a great deal of emotion in this work, but it’s in the tone rather than words. That will be enough for many listeners, and played live these tunes are sure to satisfy. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Hear “Dylan’s Hard Rain”
Ryan Bingham’s Home Page
Ryan Bingham’s MySpace Page

Hayes Carll: Trouble in Mind

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

hayescarll_troubleinmindWitty, arch and funny hard Texas country

Carll continues to make good on the deep Texas songwriting talent demonstrated on two previous albums. For this third release he moves onto the Lost Highway label, and picks up the considerable backing talents of Fats Kaplin, Darrell Scott, Will Kimbrough, and Dan Baird and others. Better yet, producer Brad Jones and engineer Mark Addison spend that instrumental firepower in support of Carll’s vocals and his witty, incisive lyrics. While some may prefer the more primitive sound of his earlier albums, in retrospect they sound like demos for this more fully realized outing.

The restlessness of Steve Earle courses through Carll’s narratives and keenly observed portraits, but so does the irascible spark of Charlie Robinson and the tongue-in-cheek pathos of rock musician Ben Vaughn. The latter’s wit is mirrored in the story of love lost to salvation, “She Left Me for Jesus” and the performing musician’s litany of horrors, “I Got a Gig.” Carll’s drawl collides with the freewheeling blues and nasal syllables of Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35” on “A Lover Like You,” with the word ‘lover’ drawn as if Tennessee Williams’ Maggie the Cat sang ragged country blues. Carll stays sly, though his lyrics aren’t always joking. “Don’t Let Me Fall” pleads for forgiveness and support in the wake of moral failure, and his cover of Tom Waits’ “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” is both petulant and preternaturally knowing. The rasp in Carll’s voice can express resignation, dissipation, irreverence, cynicism and ire, but it always seems to be balanced with a wounded poet’s optimism. The break-up of “It’s a Shame” is mourned for the hope of what could have been rather than the loss, and Tom Waits’ romantic Bowery sentiments are translated into rural images on “Beaumont.”

The album’s cover art reaches back to Merle Haggard’s early Capitol albums, but Carll’s not as inconsolably self-deprecating as The Hag, and the twangy mix of instruments covers more ground. There’s plenty of fiddle and steel, but also baritone guitar, six-string electric leads, harmonium, banjo and mandolin, and it’s all deftly woven into backings that are modern in reach but traditional in effect, practiced in their looseness and anchored by the emotional abrasion of Carll’s voice. Fans of Van Zandt, Earle, Nelson, Kristofferson, Shaver, Waits, Bruce & Charlie Robison, and Chris Knight will find much to love here. [©2008 hyperbolium dot com]

Hear “She Left Me For Jesus”