there’s country music. And
there’s country music. In a modern and broad sense,
and for popular radio play, there are two types. The second
type comes from Texas. It’s a fine and revealing truth:
Nashville may have the names, but Texas has a lot of the
talent. Now before y’all start debating the truth of that,
look at some of the names coming from the great Lone Star
It sure is
It’s a long list,
but it includes legendary Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, George
Jones, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Horton and The Gambler
himself, Kenny Rogers; there are also modern musical shakers
like Cory Morrow, Pat Green, Brian Burns, Mark Chesnutt,
Robert Earl Keen and the stadium favorite, George Strait.
Texas has always been innovative, independent and outside
the hype that often surrounds country music. Texas music
speaks to a different audience. Texas music has a distinct
sound, presence and feel. It’s different in unexplained
ways. It’s solid. Enjoyably so, and these names prove that
Jay Sims is someone
many may not know. Yet. That could change. He, too, is from
Texas. Born and raised in Lubbock, but now residing in
Luckenbach, Sims has released the solid and satisfying
Half Souls And Heals. For the versatile and traveled
troubadour,” I play all over Texas,” the album is a welcomed
blend of country, blues and Americana.
The album opens the
first of twelve tunes, eight inked solely by Sims, with the
plaintive Robbie Fulks tune “Real Money”. Moody and emotive,
lyrically tough and sung with the right measure of ache, the
interpretation shows Sims has the needed grit for a good
Similar style and
sentiment plays out on several tracks. With a voice that in
part comes edged not unlike Kenny Rogers, Sims shows his
full vocal worth on “Pawn Shop Diamond,” “Meet Me At The
Mailbox” with it’s tale of shattered romance shared in
letters not sent is a standout, so too, the fiddle soaked
“Mercy And Grace”.
A perfect compliment
to Sims’ country vocals is the band. On board is former
guitar cohort of Lucinda Williams, Gurf Morlix. With a
musical pedigree that space here won’t allow, this writer,
player and producer has worked with many of the best. Given
his involvement here, it speaks loudly Sims has the talent
and style to attract and involve one of music’s brightest
lights. Other noted band names in the 12-strong musical army
include Ron Flynt, Michael Husted and Chris Whitten.
On an album that
took time to win me, I’m so glad I stayed with it. Jay Sims
has pulled together and delivered an album rich, interesting
and offering a tight mix of thoughtful playing and memorable
Friends, there are
two types of country music. If you’re looking for a
pizza-shaped belt buckle and a verandah-sized Stetson, all
wrapped in a CMT video, forget it. That’s the other type.
Jay Sims is defiantly and definitely Texas -- the other
kind of country music.
The album, available now, is out
on Willing Records.
Click the pic to order from Amazon.com.