Reviewed by Matt Dentler, Fri., Sept. 3, 2004
Amberjack RiceGet So Little It's not that Amberjack Rice's Get So Little leaves a bad aftertaste. It leaves no aftertaste at all. This collection of bar-friendly roots rock and blues skips to a forgettable finish line without much of a fight. Too bad. Rice tries to start a brawl or two during the album's 12 tracks, but, for the most part, the Austin singer-songwriter can't quite register with songs like "Presidential Blues." Rice attempts his best Randy Newman impression with his delivery, but his wit is nowhere near as sharp. While he's trying to be Doonesbury, he amounts to about as much satirical bite as Family Circus. When Rice isn't trying to be the soft-spoken folk singer, he turns up the volume ("Memphis") to Steve Earle. These moments only create more problems, while more delicate chapters like "Far Beyond" or the robust "When the Money Gets Big" are the album's few bright spots. Otherwise, Get So Little is standard journeyman songwriting. The arrangements are tight, performances tighter, but the tunes aren't really there to decorate them. Rice tries his best to strut his stuff, but after giving so much, listeners only Get So Little.