Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Feb. 21, 2003
Eric HisawNever Could Walk the Line (Stockade) Eric Hisaw's first local release, A Thing About Trains, was a solid effort, but there was the nagging sense that he was still searching for his voice, lyrically and literally. Never Could Walk the Line, on the other hand, is a much more mature-sounding affair. There's a refreshingly bare-bones approach to all these songs that bolsters Hisaw's credibility in his weary tales of working-class life. Dirty jeans covered in dry wall dust, a half-warm Lone Star longneck sitting atop a Fender amp, a beat-up van sitting in the driveway -- this is the world Hisaw's songs inhabit. "Garage Sale" is a poignant document of the pain of seeing strangers pick over your possessions, while "Maybe the Devil" is an ode to Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Eddy Shaver that's framed with simple acoustic guitar and a Telecaster. "I Don't Wanna Work No More" has the perfect feel for cutting loose on Friday night with a wallet full of cash and the knowledge that you'll be starting it all over again on Monday. Simple and direct songs, a craggy voice, and solid playing make Hisaw a formidable entrant in Austin's roots-oriented singer-songwriter field.