Walter Tragert

Lousy With Desire (n / a)

SXSW Records

Walter Tragert

Lousy With Desire Flying well below Austin's critical radar, Walter Tragert's Lousy With Desire is a tribute to his seldom-noted talents. With a wry, acerbic flair for words and a voice well suited to the bluesy organ that sometimes accompanies him, Tragert's songs are so impressively crafted it makes one wonder where he's been keeping himself. Blessed with a remarkably soulful voice and a spare quartet that includes producer Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Tragert demonstrates that his lyrical heart is with Eighties singer-songwriter stylists like Graham Parker. For Tragert, this point of reference provides a springboard into his familiar but not-so-retro sound. All 10 tracks were written or co-written by Tragert and meander through the whys and wherefores of love with style. The lush swell of a Hammond accompanies "Singing on the Radio," while "Clear to Me" laments, "Can't say I'll ever look at beauty again with the same blind eye." Tragert's equally comfortable with ballads ("What Else Can I Do," "Under the Rainbow"), rockers ("What Do You Want," "Harder Tonight"), and beats in between ("Always on Fire," "Hands of the Devil," "Tagalong"). There's not a clinker in the lot. With "Tosca Girls," Tragert pays homage to the popular local string quartet with his heart on his sleeve: "They're all so pretty I haven't got a shot. For a man who has everything, there's one thing I ain't got." Maybe he's underestimating his own potential by keeping out of the critical eye, but Austin could use more of Walter Tragert. A lot more. (Saturday, March 20, 10pm @ Opal Divine's)

***.5

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