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Posted October 1, 2010
This Texas-based singer-songwriter has released four albums over the past decade, with a five year work-and-school hiatus between 2002’s “Right Here and Now” and the local release of this disc back in 2007. Like many who travel within the self-contained universe that is Texas country music, he emerges into the national spotlight with a lot more depth and polish than listeners expect to hear in their first brush with an artist. But four albums into his career, Temple’s a memorable songwriter with a country-folk-rock sound that has the sort of sing-a-long middle-American earthiness of John Mellancamp’s hits and Steve Earle’s Guitar Town. Lloyd Maines’ production keeps Temple’s lyrics and voice as the central motor, but guitarist David Grissom is given space to add some hot-shot electric licks. ¶ The album opens with Temple’s clever consideration of matrimony, advising a querulous groom with frank humor about the yin and yang of married life. The pains of love are also essayed in “I Can’t Quit Loving You,” in which the protagonist enumerates all the bad habits he’s given up, save the one in the title. Bad love and love gone bad are the themes of “Red Wine and Tequila” and “Like We Still Care,” respectively the former is a bluesy tune that offers a bar-lit realization that some relationships are as ill-fitting as a bad combination of spirits, while the latter is a clear-eyed look at the chilly end of a failed relationship. Another couple’s ending is rendered in clever analogy as the carnage of a “Demolition Derby.” ¶ Temple can turn from clever to funny, yet still remain touching. He chronicles a stage-frightened amateur on “Can’t Drink Enough to Sing,” and laments the re-categorization of Pluto as a non-planet by way of Gary Coleman’s fall from stardom (“a trip from the top to rent-a-cop can make you feel insecure”). The album closes with two of its strongest songs. “Rivers Run From Many Waters” is a mid-tempo fiddle waltz (with some terrific electric guitar from David Grissom) that opens with the evocative couplet “My great grandfather was a rake and rambler / Good with the women but not a good gambler,” before working down the family tree to his grandfather, father and son. Closing the disc is the traveling musician hoe-down “On the Lonesome Road,” featuring some fine acoustic flat picking. This album is a real treat for anyone seeking honest country music with folk and rock sides, unaffected by both Nashville’s commercial intentions and alt.country’s anti-Nashville response. [©2008 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.