[4 March 2008]
The main songwriter for Blue Diamond Shine ventures out on his own with this album reeking of South Texas barroom floors. Although his voice isn’t the strongest around, Stark does have a passion on songs like “Mineral Wells” which sounds like a cross between B.J. Thomas and Roy Orbison fronting The Mavericks. The same can be said of the slightly haunting Tex-Mex flavored “Coyote” that is driven primarily by Stark’s vocals. But even this pales to the stronger and far more pleasing “Secret Girl” that sounds like it was made for the ‘60s. A few songs don’t quite make the grade, especially the sagging and flaccid “The Brutal Truth (In September)” but the artist makes up for this screw-up with “Too Proud” and “Narcocorrido Neuvo Laredo”, a rather stirring and shifty number worthy of inclusion on a spaghetti Western soundtrack. Another nugget here is the tender, folksy “She Comes and Goes” that is helped thanks to a subtle accordion and percussion. The lone poppy ditty is “Monterrey” which is a hit and miss affair that has Stark pushing the envelope a bit too far.