Chris Wall

El Western Motel (Cold Spring)

Texas Platters

Chris Wall

El Western Motel (Cold Spring)

Chris Wall can turn a perfect country phrase; lines like "a night so black you start praying for the blues" in "Cruel to You," and the barroom eulogy "now he's only remembered by those trying to forget" from the title track. The local Westerner's seventh official album – and first in nearly a decade – drops such gems throughout, aided lovingly by production from Lloyd Maines and accompaniment from Reckless Kelly's Cody Braun. Wall's rich baritone and clever yet grounded lyrics hearken Dale Watson, especially on "Blues for the Big Highway," and Watson's co-write on closer "Hello, I'm an Old Country Song" reinforces the affinity. Opener "Six Shiny Strings" sets the tone for the classic country songsmith who's ridden the highs and lows, and "Silver Hair and Silver Wings" stings in capturing that sense of faded success even as Wall proves yet again that he can still craft tunes with the best of them. El Western Motel offers the welcome return of an Austin country music scene cornerstone.

***.5

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