Well After Awhile (Nine Mile)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., June 25, 2010
ShinyribsWell After Awhile (Nine Mile)
Shinyribs spins off Gourds figurehead Kevin Russell, and if Well After Awhile were a new entry to the overstuffed roots market, he'd be hailed as one of the discoveries of the year. Instead, he's Richards in the Jagger-Richards slot of the beloved Austin song farmers, rural mentalities in urban drag. That's still selling Russell short: He's the anti-frontman, with a chameleon quality to his singing that swings from cornpone honk to silky soul in a breath. Better, he's a prolific songwriter of remarkable ability, capable of twisting that voice around his hardscrabble songs with unexpected emotion. "I'm a little bit crazy, but I ain't no fool," he croons on "Country Cool," sage advice for sly lyrics that brag, "I don't like giving my dollars to China ... but I'll give 'em all to Mexico and Milwaukee, 12 aluminum cans at a time." Like Russell's unscripted performances, Awhile dances a checkered floor of sweet waltzes and laments ("Morning's Night," "Fisherman's Friend"), divine spiritual fervor ("Shores of Galilee"), and funky beats ("East TX Rust") and ends the night with a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" so sublime it demands an encore.