One of the strangest musical success stories to emerge from Texas concerns the tale of San Antonio native Doug Sahm’s incarnation as Sir Douglas and hitting the charts during the British Invasion with a heavy Farfisa groan and a two-step beat. Fellow Lone Star troubadour Bruce Robison boisterously tells the story on the title cut of his new EP, complete with an organ introduction and faux party sounds in the background, just like Sahm did way back in the mid-sixties. While this tribute to the past serves as the disc’s entry point, the six more conventional country/rock/folk/blues (or whatever you call the contemporary Texas singer songwriter sound these days) tunes kick butt as well. Robison knows how to tell a tale and find a groove without being heavy handed. He knows that even fleeting love can cut deep and that time goes by too fast to measure, but that doesn’t mean one has to whine about it. Robison uses simple language and phrases (i.e. “sweet smell of her brown hair,” “unhealthy, unwealthy, unwise”, “still like a bowling pin watching the ball roll in”) that say little and mean a lot in the service of the larger story. He deftly uses basic chord progressions to create catchy melodies and hooks. There’s more value in this less than 30-minute disc than in most fully-packed CDs.
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// Notes from the Road
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