Horse Opera (Telewreck)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., April 18, 2014
Practitioners of Texas dance hall tunes, Horse Opera, led by the songwriting team of Jimmy Deveney and Howdy Darrell, two-step their way through accordion-imbued Tex-Mex ("Look at Me"), vintage honky-tonk ("Same Ole Broken Heart"), and miles of classic country on their eponymous sophomore disc, released last fall. Deveney demonstrates a knack for topical lyricism on the Guthrie-like historical humanization of "Moses" and bad girlfriend blues of "Dead Man Walking." Much has changed since Horse Opera 2010's debut Sounds of the Desert, but nothing more impacting than the addition of Howdy Darrell, who lends his old-soul vocals to several tracks on the self-produced effort, notably "Right Time," in which his offbeat rhymes recall Roger Miller. Horse Opera's classic country sound, topped with rugged fiddling from Heather Rae Johnson and assisted by slide guitar ace Zach Moulton from Mike & the Moonpies, remains best observed on the dance floor where it's needed.