Terri HendrixThe Ring (Wilory)
Perhaps the hardest-working singer-songwriter in Central Texas, Terri Hendrix is constantly playing locally or heading out on tour or putting out a new album. It's only been since 1996 that she put out her debut, Two Dollar Shoes
, and now the San Marcos dynamo is releasing her fourth full studio effort (there's also two live discs). As expected, The Ring
will not disappoint the legions of loyals she's already earned -- no doubt it will gain her a slew more. It's all over the place in that enchanting way her albums always are, grinding out the sexier, bluesier side of country music at one turn ("I Found the Lions"), and floating on tear-spilling sentimental breezes at the next ("The Ring"). Pop tunes gorgeous and wordy, plenty of folk sounds, and a scattershot of jazz, country, and all other things Texas make their way into these 11 tunes. At this point in her career, Hendrix's overt eclecticism is no longer a sign of searching, but a hallmark of her own well-developed style. Her band, headed by sage of all things stringed Lloyd Maines, is solid as ever, and tracks like "I Found the Lions" and "Long Time Coming" show the singer reaching new plateaus of comfort and expertise.