Michael Hall & the Woodpeckers
Dead by Dinner (Blue Rose)
Too country to be alt.rock, too rock to be alt.country, and still, we should all count our lucky stars Austin's Michael Hall doesn't 'alt altogether. The Wild Seeds founder and longtime solo artist has assembled yet another fine combo in the Woodpeckers, including fellow former Wild Seed Randy Franklin and several members of the local Diamond Smugglers. And that's not even mentioning guests like Toni Price, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, and Champ Hood. Doesn't much matter, though; Hall has yet to put together a team that didn't do justice to his offbeat tunes of love, loss, and redemption, nor does he seem to have any trouble continuing to dole out helpings of sometimes dark, sometimes funny slices of life. In fact, if dependability is a flaw, it would be Hall's weak point; there's nothing to say about this disc that wouldn't fit a review of any of his output from the past decade. Oh, there's nothing as goofy as "Put Down That Pig" here, nor as moody as the bulk of his album Day
(nor, thankfully, is there anything as long as "Frank Slade's 29th Dream"), and the song titles have changed, so if you liked his previous works and phrases like "In the Crypt With Eleanora," "How to Be Strong," and the euphemistic "I Can't Believe You Touched Him" pique your interest, I suggest you head to the CD store and get this latest slice of Hall on wry before dinner.