While attending the Americana Music Conference in Nashville last September I was lucky enough to go to some great shows. John Fogerty , Charlie Robison, Radney Foster, The Bottle Rockets, Angela Easterling....all great. But the show that stuck with me most was my favorite sort, a complete surprise.
Texas has a long, rich legacy of musical contributions as big as the state itself, and they run the across all genres. But if anyone asked me for a recommendation of a current musician or a band that best personifies what I like best about Texas music I would hand them a copy of Dallas' Somebody's Darling self-titled release. Gritty, balls-to-the-wall rock, not the anemic variety seeping from mainstream country station over the last decade from execs that think Creed is rad, but the kind of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Charlie Daniels (listen to the fiddle-banjo fueled barn-blazer Another Two Step to fetch a hankering for 'shine and a bar fight) meets Replacements ( listen to the cuts Lonely as well as Farewell for power-punk ferocity spiced with pedal steel!) And with the current re-issues of Exile on Mainstreat you miss that 70's Stones swagger just listen to Cold Hearted Lover for enough bluesy heat sure to burn a hole in your highball glass.
On the brazenly fearless and apologetically sentimental yearn of the opener Horses and Easy Amber Farris takes her rightful place with other powerful Texas singers, like Janis Joplin and Michelle Shocked, that can belt it out and also work the nuanced edges of a song. The band - David Ponder n searing Lead Guitar, Nate Wedan as a force to be reckoned with on Percussion and the understated Michael Talley on Bass. This is a crack band that does what they should do, make it all seem seamless and effortless. The solid songs and passionate performance on this release and live shows why they were the winners of the Shiner Records' Rising Star Competition and have a sterling future ahead of them.
4 1/2 out of 5