Blue Diamond Shine

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Blue Diamond Shine

That Godforsaken Road Austin's Blue Diamond Shine plays country rock; their stuff falling sometime between when the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield kicked it off and when the Eagles killed it for good. At times, singer-songwriter John Stark has an evocative way with a phrase (the languid "Bolts," for instance). He's also got a clear, strong voice. The band is solid and in-pocket, with Eric Hisaw keeping it simple on guitar and playing all the right notes in the right places. "Strong Wine and Strong Women" is a shuffle in the old-school honky-tonk mold, while "Comedy and Tragedy" opens up and rocks a little more. Still, there's something curiously lacking in these songs; while Stark's brand of songwriting is personal and often haunting, the hooks are few and far between. That's where the country-rock analogy comes back around again; much of that Seventies hybrid, while atmospheric and well-played, was not especially memorable. Be that as it may, That Godforsaken Road is a well-produced album, closing off with a bang-up version of Wynn Stewart's "Playboy." If John Stark can write songs like "Playboy," songs that people can take home with them, Blue Diamond Shine can go from good to great.


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