Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
small, innovative and inspiring. It’s the Texas label Palo
Duro. With an ambition to bring the best of country music to the
fans, the label, over a short period of years, has assembled a
vibrant and talented roster. Now a with a secure line-up
including Dale Watson, The Derailers and Darryl Lee Rush among
others, the label keeps its fan promise by releasing Texas
Unplugged Volume Two. The album follows the successful Texas
Unplugged debut from 2004.
The aim is still the
same, and the music is as exciting as ever. Label founder and
this album’s producer, Chris Thomas, has brought together 12
Texas regional acts. With tunes only produced for the Unplugged
series and all stripped down and acoustic, the series is a
primer for those who want more from their music than just a
catchy hook and something to hum. Here you’ll find substance.
Here you’ll discover singers and songwriters, tunesmiths, who
contribute to their art in a positive, honest, shared and
Many of the names
are already known. Many others should be.
Derailers open the set with melodic heartache on “I’m Still
Missing You”. The SideHill Gougers, with “One Tiny Sin”,
add some fiddle and Dobro flavor to engaging three-part harmony.
“Turtle Bayou Turnaround” is instrumental artistry at work
courtesy of Cindy Cashdollar and Carolyn Wonderland, while humor
and the profound benefits of “Duct Tape” come shared by a
couple of good ol’ boys from Dallas, Morrison–Williams.
Listen out also for Belton, Texas, locals Wild Horses. “You
And Me And San Antone” is a perfect showcase for Angela
Rae’s spirited and driving lead vocal.
111’s favorite country music savior, Dale Watson, offers
thanks to the honky tonk on the whiskey-inspired and
beer-drenched “As Long As The Bottle’s Full”. As always,
Watson delivers. It’s a knockout tune. Rusty Weir shines a
lyrical spotlight on compelling patriotism in “Texas Love And
War”, while Davin James gets bluesy on the slap bass primed
“Dog Days Blues”. Jumping jive arrives with Two Tonnes of
Steel on “Car Seat”, while respected performers Max Stalling
and Walt Wilkins enjoy welcomed appearances.
If you’re finding
your way to Texas music, both these albums are the needed
signposts. Raw and real, with inspired lyrics and performance
– a fan’s dream realized.
I wrote a review on
the debut Volume One some time ago. It’s included below. Check
these albums out and do yourself the favor. And when you do,
you’ll understand more fully why when it comes to labels, in
the words of chart-climbing Joe Nichols, size matters. Smaller
Unplugged Volume 2
1: The Derailers:
I’m Still Missing You
2: The SideHill Gougers: One Tiny Sin
3: Dale Watson: As Long As The Bottle’s Full
4: Johnny Bush: Rio Grande Runs Red
5: Davin James: Dog Days Blues
6: Morrison-Williams: Duct Tape
7: Rusty Weir: Texas Love & War
8: Wild Horses: You And Me And San Antone
9: C.Cashdollar & C.Wonderland: Turtle Bayou Turnaround
10: Max Stalling: The Rodeo Song
11: Walt Wilkins: The Path To Your Door
12: Two Tons Of Steel: Car Seat
Unplugged Volume 1
listening to this solid roundup of 12 tracks from the best Texas
has to offer, I have only one thing to say – roll on Volume 2.
I can’t wait, as Volume 1 is a fine introduction to talent
reliant only on stripped down instrumentation, good voices and
even better tunes.
As the label rightly
asserts, this is country music with Texas spirit. From the
opening strains of TC Taylor’s “Don’t It Make You Wanna
Dance,” you know this is something special. Again, like Ed
Burleson’s album, he, incidentally, appears here with “The
Way You’re Treating Me,” there are no disappointments.
On an album
sprinkled with Dobro, guitars, slapped bass, snare-brushed drums
and other minimal musical interruptions, these singer
songwriters come to the microphone with treasured tunes.
They’re tunes that, if given a receptive ear, are sure to win
fans to an often overlooked genre – that being, the singer
On an album of
highlights, listen out for a killer song from Deryl Dodd, “Old
Time Sake”. It’s not the pearl snaps which claim the
attention here; rather, it’s an old guy with a love for the
music of bygone days of Hank and Lefty. A guy captured in all
his aging innocence by the gentle simplicity of Dodd’s album
Brian Burns brings
humor with a perilous tale of culture clashes in a border town.
The lyrical high jinks involve dietary resolve and the art of
staying in the saddle, as heard on the aptly-named “Bicycling
In A Border Town”. It’s a standout tune. Terri Hendrix
wins with her banjo-led TV tales of Springer and other
annoyances on “Clicker”. Eleven Hundred Springs engage the
rockier elements of acoustic playing on “Kick Me When I’m
Down,” and Texas stalwart Larry Joe Taylor impresses with the
inviting “Welcome To Paradise”.
If you’re looking
for musical magic, you’ve just found it. The unplugged mix of
tried and tested Americana, country, and blues is a ready-made
gift for the discerning lover of Texas music.
01. TC Taylor:
“Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance?”
02. Mike McClure: “My Sweet Lily”
03. Becca Dalrymple: “No Man’s Land”
04. Ed Burleson: “The Way You’ve Been Treating Me”
05. Houston Marchman:“Dark Black Irish Eyes”
06. Deryl Dodd: “Old Time Sake”
07. Sisters Morales: “Even the Rain”
08. Terri Hendrix: “Clicker”
09. Eleven Hundred Springs: “Kick Me When I’m Down”
10. Larry Joe Taylor: “Welcome to Paradise”
11. Brian Burns: “Bicycling in a Border Town”
12. Tommy Alverson: “Texas Woman”
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