Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Nov. 1, 2002
Mike McClureTwelve Pieces (Compadre)
Some may recognize Centex troubadour Mike McClure as the former frontman for Oklahoma's the Great Divide. A mainly acoustic affair, this solo debut steps away from the raucous and ragged sound of his regular unit. McClure obviously has the basics down, with the occasional hook and memorable melody. Yet lyrically, he deals out one cliché after another. He claims folks like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kris Kristofferson as influences, yet winds up sounding more like a second-rate Robert Earl Keen or Steve Earle. One of his better compositions, the quiet "Dings," starts out with the hoary line, "I am just a poor boy," yet McClure redeems himself as it leads up to the almost inventive "I got a good old soul, it's just got a few dings." He follows it up with the anthemic "The Void," which stands out with its Southern rock guitars. McClure finishes the set with "Between Two Thieves." Accompanied with just piano, he sings of the Lord and His crucifixion, and the tune's gospel nature is relayed with his voice. He's finally singing like he means it. It's too little too late though -- the rest of Twelve Pieces could have used the same shot of passion.