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Dave Jorgenson - We Have A Winner
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

When Dave Jorgenson sings about getting drunk again, you can believe it. When he aches with the despair of facing another day in the rat race, again, believe it. And when he pleads with you to not put the whiskey bottle away, you’d better listen. A good ol’ boy from Perry, Kansas, with a voice that simply oozes hurtin’ and losin’, Jorgenson is back in the neon with his second album, We Have A Winner. And what an album it is.

For a start, the voice: it’s been described in several reviews as supple. Well, it is. And more. Jorgenson has a lively quality that digs into heartache; it mines the ache of despair, and when the hurtin’s done and finished, he knows how to kick back and whoop it up with the best of them. His album is a balanced blend of misery and fun, sung convincingly by a guy born with twang in his bones. 

Jorgenson is no late bloomer when it comes to music. His bio depicts a kid who picked up a guitar at 7. Pumped with the home influences of Williams and Haggard, he went on to local performing, eventually moving to regular gigs in clubs and venues. A later move to Austin, Texas, cemented the dream of forging out a career that would make use of the over 100 country songs he’d written.

Some of those songs, together with Jorgenson’s polished style, show keenly on We Have A Winner. With 10 tunes on board and Jorgenson as co-producer (Tommy Detamore), the CD is a honky tonker’s delight. Jorgensen and his honed session band deliver with a mix of spirited toe-tappers, late night weepers, and a clutch of plain unadulterated country. 

“Gettin’ Drunk Again” opens the set. Singing in the shadows of a lost love, a wife who’s taken the kids, the dog and the family home, Jorgenson tells us he’s making brand new friends, since he started drinkin’ again. Misery. Hurt. A loner’s desperation – Jorgenson taps into more than a beer keg when he shares the ache of being on the wastin’ end of goodbye. That’s one of the many standout points on this album: Jorgenson can write a damn good country song. He feels what he sings, and what he sings he shares in identifiable lyrics.

Jorgenson’s countrified and made for Saturday night voice continues the drinking and thinking theme as it works across “ Blue’s Just A Color” and “Don’t Put That Whiskey Away”; then, as a sobering after thought, we’re offered isolated misery in crafted tunes like” I’m Giving Up On Love” and the sentiment soaked “You’re Gone”. With the image of a lover’s loss played out in the lyrics: “The jukebox grows silent and the lights all come on/I’ll grab my old guitar and head out for home/ That’s when it hits me…you’re gone”, Jorgenson nails a familiarity cowpokes and lovers alike could share in.

But while Jorgenson can have you reaching for a Kleenex and a shot glass with his music, he can, also, and easily, direct traffic to the dance floor. When “Rat Race” fires up, move the rug and rearrange the chairs, as this’ll move crowds quicker than a sale at Walmart. With the band in overdrive, guitars twanging and drums pumping, Jorgenson lets loose with the album’s most spirited track.

On “We Have A Winner”, Jorgenson paints the picture of a poker game married to the losing reality of a bad hand in the game of life, while another chance to kick up sawdust comes with the energetically fired “Everybody’s Baby”.

If you’re looking for a cut loose album, one with heartache sold by a guy who feels what he sings, then you should check this one out. And if you’re looking for an album that hooks you early with its pace and talented diversity, we have good news: we have a winner – Dave Jorgenson. 

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