The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Reviewed by Christopher Hess, October 1, 1999, Music

Adam Carroll

South of Town (Down Hole)

From the opening strums of "Red Bandana Blues," singer-songwriter Adam Carroll plants himself firmly in an immediately recognizable continuum of singer-songwriters that started shortly after Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan and ran a rapid southwesterly course to West Texas, where it was made poignant and humorous by Terry Allen and later perfected by Butch Hancock. Fast and able acoustic strumming, intellectually engaging lyrics that lay bare the greater truths of the world through a dust-covered camera eye, and a good story -- always stories -- are what define South of Town. If "Bubble Gum" is ambitious beyond the execution, it in no way detracts from the wisdom of "Fortune Teller Eyes," the humor of "Stranger's Advice," the literate wit of "Home Again," or the disquieting beauty of "Silver Lakeside" (which features harmony vocals by Terri Hendrix). Carroll, who hails from Tyler, Texas, has at the tender age of 23 shown a firm grasp of the nuances in country-folk songwriting -- a grasp that makes South of Town nothing short of a remarkable debut. This may be the first you've heard of Adam Carroll, but it won't be the last.


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