Showing posts from April 11, 2010

Album Review: Bart Crow Band "Heartworn Tragedy"

Whether in concert or on recorded tracks, the Bart Crow Band never, ever disappoints. The band's new album "Heartworn Tragedy" is no exception. Indeed, the project supplies more hard-edge Texas country than any Red Dirt fan could possibly desire.
The album begins with the rockin' title track "Heartworn Tragedy." The heavy lyrics pulsate with intensity, and Bart Crow's vocals have never sounded better. However, the tone of the album softens with the melodic "Saying Goodbye" which has already been warmly embraced by radio.

The hard pumping Red Dirt love song "Traded It All For Love" showcases the best elements of the Bart Crow Band, which include Paul Russell, Matt Slagle, David Fralin, Brian Smith, and, of course, Bart Crow.

The best cut on "Heartworn Tragedy" is the reflective "Run With The Devil." The sincere lyrics and memorable hook draw in the listener and paint a vivid picture of the hardly-seen sensitive si…

Album Review: Matt Harlan "Tips & Compliments"

If Chris Knight had a son with Lucinda Williams, he might - just might - turn out to be as good a musician as Boerne, Texas native Matt Harlan. That's a high compliment, but Matt Harlan's new release "Tips & Compliments" deserves all of the accolades it can collect.
The album begins with the Americana gem "Elizabethtown." The lyrics and music penetrate the soul and build to a rousing chorus. The next track, "Skinny Trees Of Mississippi," proves to be a winning demonstration of Harlan's significant vocal chops. Like Chris Knight, Harlan paints a full and complete picture of his surroundings, thoughts and feelings in his accomplished lyrics.

Traditional country music is well represented with the stellar "Something New," "Over The Bridge" and "Warm November." Of the three, "Over The Bridge" has the best chance to be a major Texas country chart hit. Harlan's vocals fire on all cylinders, and the ins…

Review: Kyle Park "Spring 2010" EP

Let's face it, the music industry is rough these days. However, Kyle Park is nobody's fool, and his new EP "Spring 2010" proves it. In fact, Kyle Park's unassuming country grin belies the fact that he is probably one of the smartest good ol' boys on the Red Dirt music scene.
You see, Kyle Park is releasing several EPs over the next year to let fans vote on which cuts will make his new album to be released in 2011. It's a brilliant move, because fans get a voice and a constant stream of new music. Indeed, Kyle Park is forging a new path in Texas country that is likely to be replicated by others.

The "Spring 2010" EP begins with the country ballad "I'm Missing You." The lyrics travel familiar country ground with a fresh perspective that builds to a rousing chorus. The rockin' "Prove It To You" is Texas country through and through. This cut will rock the rafters in Kyle Park concerts and should prove to be a fan f…

Review: Jay Hart "Breaking Down In The B-Town EP"

Jay Hart is a name that country music aficionados should remember. On "Breaking Down In The B-Town EP," he has the musical sensibilities of Ryan Adams and the pleasing vocal tone of James Blunt. He's also traveled the world with acts as diverse as Spiritualized and Billy Jo Spears. Likewise, he's played Glastonbury and the Viper Room. And, oh yeah, he's British.
In country music, geography matters, but listeners should not hold that against Jay Hart. The first cut, "Time On Our Hands," shows an earnest alt-country singer baring his soul. The production is stellar, and Jay Hart gives a winning vocal performance.

"What's Wrong" mixes guitar rock with today's country. Think Matt Nathanson meets Keith Urban. But it works on all levels. Jay Hart has a compelling vocal presence that draws in the listener. The vocal power is reminiscent of Stereophonics lead-singer Kelly Jones.

The country quotient rises with "Spending Time Wasting Tim…

Album Review: Bo Phillips Band "Dirt Road"

The members of the Bo Phillips Band are students of Red Dirt music who hail from Stillwater, Oklahoma. However, Bo Phillips was born in Houston, and his Texas roots shine through with his band's terrific new album titled "Dirt Road."
Unpaved roads are usually kind of bumpy and unpredictable, but the Bo Phillips Band's "Dirt Road" is filled with heartfelt ballads and rockin' Texas country. The album begins with the soulful "Never." This song has a memorable melody and winning lyrics. The aptly titled "Perfect Girl" is equally pleasing. This radio single is the kind of country song that will make cowgirls dance the night away.

The bluesy "Cornfed" provides worthy guitar performances, but the album really hits its stride with the title track "Dirt Road." This cut could and should find its place on the country chart. It's a pleasing mix of Texas country with mainstream sensibilities and a superb vocal performance…