Libbi Bosworth

Outskirts of You (Freedom)

Austin's country music scene has been described in these pages as an embarrassment of riches. Well, things just became even more embarrassing; Libbi Bosworth has returned to town and, with this album, serves notice that her name must be included when you discuss Austin's major country figures. Bosworth has said that music is no longer the center of her life. Well, if this is what half-assing it sounds like, it's frightening to think of what Bosworth would sound like when she's serious. There are simply no clunkers here -- not one. Her big, powerful voice is possessed with a Loretta Lynn fire and her songs will have you wondering which classics she's covering. But she's not -- with only three exceptions, they're all hers. Thank god she left Nashville, because she's kept intact her sense that a hook is built around skilled imagery, not the cornballness that infects that city like a Medieval plague. She could put most of these tunes in the songbooks of Ray Price or Johnny Bush and raise nary an eyebrow, performing them with the same passion that they might. Pouring more gasoline on the fire, she's backed by the likes of Caspar Rawls, ex-husband Bill Dwyer, Lorne Rall, Erik Hokkanen, Lisa Pankratz, and Gary Primich, another ridiculous display of wealth in itself. Welcome back, Libbi. The table has gotten pretty crowded in the last few years, but we'll gladly clear off another space for you.
(4.0 stars) -- Lee Nichols

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