The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, September 29, 2000, Music

Bill & Bonnie Hearne

Watching Life Through a Windshield (Back Porch)

Bill and Bonnie Hearne have been making music for more than 30 years and show no signs of slowing down, as Watching Life Through a Windshield proves in a spirited way. A collection of road-related songs from the pens of Guy Clark, Butch Hancock, Robert Earl Keen, Bob Dylan, Delbert McClinton, and many more, Windshield finds the former locals, both legally blind, doing what they've long done best: lending their considerable musical talents and wonderful harmonies to one great song after another. While it's true there are other, definitive versions of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," "L.A. Freeway," and "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me," few if any have the Hearnes' breezy self-confidence. They cruise through these 13 songs with knowing ease, telling tale after tale with an earthy vitality that amplifies their uncanny ability to mix country, folk, rock, and blues into what's become known as Texas music, generously demonstrating why they've influenced folks like Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, and Tish Hinojosa. Buck Owens shows up to lend a voice on his "The King of Fools," while Emmylou Harris, Chris Hillman, and Herb Pedersen appear as well. As a whole, Watching Life Through a Windshield is an infectious and lighthearted trip through a variety of styles and tales told with heart and rare grace.


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