That Kind of Lonely (Texas Round-Up)

That Kind of Lonely (Texas Round-Up)

Record Reviews

Roger Wallace

That Kind of Lonely (Texas Round-Up)

When people talk about the best country singers in Austin, Roger Wallace is not a name that immediately comes to mind. That's likely to change when they get to hear his second album, however. Wallace has been plugging away for the past year or so, honing his craft by playing a steady stream of local gigs, and the work he's done is readily apparent throughout this collection of hardcore honky-tonk. As he did on his debut, 1999's Hillbilly Heights, Wallace has written some classic-sounding heartbreak songs like the title track to That Kind of Lonely, "Square One," and "From the Time I Get Up." Wallace also tackles tunes from the songbooks of Roger Miller and Johnny Horton, and it all adds up to one of the best-sounding sets of traditional country released out of Austin in a very long time. The amazing thing about all this is that Wallace's original tunes stand up just fine next to those venerable classics, and there's not a clinker in the bunch. Another standout track is "I Never Picked Cotton," a song associated with Roy Clark, which features a gospel-style chorus and just oozes country soul. Wallace has collected a stellar band to back him -- Jim Stringer on guitar, Lisa Pankratz on drums, Brad Fordham on bass, Marty Muse on steel guitar, and Eamon McLoughlin on fiddle -- and their ensemble play goes a long way toward keeping That Kind Of Lonely in a firm country groove. That said, the real star is Wallace, whose supple voice wraps around a lyric with subtle grace and a measured amount of passion, proving that he's surely one of the best singers, not only in Austin, but in all of country music.

****

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