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Guy Forsyth

The Freedom To Fail (Blue Corn Music)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 21, 2012

Texas Platters

Guy Forsyth

The Freedom To Fail (Blue Corn Music)

"Balance is a process of constant correction" croons Guy Forsyth midway through his seventh release, as if reiterating the willfully eclectic stylistic swath of the entire LP. While The Freedom To Fail refuses to settle into an easy sound, it's the constant shifts expertly deployed by the longtime local that make the album so compelling. "Red Dirt" opens, kicking gospel roots laced with horns and a clarinet, while "The Hard Way" follows by running alongside Springsteen, and "Sink 'Em Low" unloads a gritty a cappella chain-gang traditional. At his most natural as a songwriter, Forsyth hearkens classic Lyle Lovett on "The Things That Matter" and "Balance," and "Should Have Been Raining" adds sentiment on Jon Dee Graham's steel guitar. Guy Forsyth remains defiantly chameleon, through the country-blues punch of "Econoline" to the pop bounce of "Played Again" and upended gypsy sway of "Can't Stop Dancing," all linking to his Asylum Street Spankers tenure. That sort of balance may be a tenuous one, but Freedom To Fail isn't. (CD release: Stateside at the Paramount, Saturday, Sept. 22)

***.5

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