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SXSW Record Reviews

Acts Playing South by Southwest

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, March 2, 2001, Music

Jimmy LaFave

Texoma (Bohemia Beat)

If we took the Geezinslaws' song "$5 Fine for Whining" and applied it to Jimmy LaFave's Texoma, he would owe somebody a lot of money. His vocals are warbles and moans, an acquired taste to these ears, and for the most part they come off as just that -- a lot of affected whining. LaFave appears to confuse these histrionics with conveying real emotions, and it comes off feeling empty and stale. Musically, Texoma, LaFave's fifth collection of songs, isn't that much different from where he's taken us before. It contains 16 songs stylishly performed with sturdy melodies, yet LaFave seems to have nothing new to say. Particularly wrong-headed are his choices of cover material. He takes on the Scott McKenzie/John Phillips' tune "San Francisco (Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," a song that was dated in 1968. Another tune that he tries and misses is the Ten Years After chestnut, "Rock & Roll Music to the World," which should be electric and boiling with energy, yet never gets beyond tepid here. Some may find LaFave adventurous and elegantly charming when, in fact, Texoma finds him trying much too hard to achieve those effects and in the end, the longtime Austin singer-songwriter comes off as silly and overly self-conscious. There are a couple of winning moments on Texoma, but finding them on this overly long and trying musical exercise is just not worth the time. (Friday, March 16, Texas Union Theatre, midnight)


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