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CD Reviews:  Delbert McClinton: Room to Breathe

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Fiddles, twangy guitars and husky vocals are a staple on the music scene between Austin and Nashville. In some locales this kind of band is as common in bars as the smell of stale beer in the morning, but it’s finding the true gems among them that are a tad more difficult. Delbert McClinton won a Grammy with his last effort, Nothing Personal, and follows it up with Room to Breathe, another shit-kicking effort that surely won’t keep you in your seat for long.

“Same Kind of Crazy” is the kind of honky-tonk opener you’d expect McClinton to launch a set with, with background vocals from Bekka Bramlett adding the proper amount of soul. “Smooth Talk” is a grooving blues rocker that promises more of what’s to come…a record full of rocking blues that McClinton’s band hits with in-their-sleep precision. “Everything I Know About the Blues” is one of the best cry-in-your-beer songs I’ve ever heard: “I know that promises are things that just get broken / And you just can’t trust a woman’s tears / And if love is what you place your hope in / All your hope might disappear” is just a sappy, beautiful bridge. 

“Lone Star Blues” has an all-star cast of alt-country characters including Joe Ely, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris contributing vocals. Grab your beer and sing along if you want; you almost can’t help it listening to this stuff. “Won’t Be Me” is another piano/guitar ditty that sounds like an instant blues classic. And just like it’s old hat to this veteran singer/songwriter, McClinton pulls another heartbreak gem out of his pocket with “Don’t Want to Love You.” “Money Honey” moves like a freight train and the sophisticated “New York City” closes out this unbelievable set.

If you’re a songwriter in an alt-country band, this is the guy you should worship. His voice alone has enough depth and soul to wrap around the planet several times. If you’re a fan of this stuff and haven’t picked it up yet, there’s no time like the present. 

~Mike Farley : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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