KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 12

Texas platters

Phases & Stages

KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 12

(107.1 KGSR-FM/Radio Austin)

Like rolling loaded dice, the 2-CD KGSR Broadcasts Vol. 12 is a guaranteed win. Culled primarily from KGSR in-studio and Music Lounge appearances, as well as SXSW shows at the Four Seasons, the annual KGSR party, Austin City Limits studio, ACL Music Festival, and even St. David's Episcopal Church, the 41 tracks are as impressive as the performers. It's a numbers game: two dozen national acts like Patti Smith, John Hiatt, Ozomatli, Little Feat, Sarah McLachlan, and Rodney Crowell layered with more than a dozen locals like Terri Hendrix, Michael Fracasso, and the Flatlanders. More than anything, the annual collection, which benefits in large part Austin's SIMS foundation, is an unofficial indicator of the state of roots rock, and the bar is so high there's not a lot of variation from that standard of excellence. What counts is the sequencing, the elegant order of songs and performers that allows Slaid Cleaves' marvelous "Wishbones" to nestle by Gillian Welch's wry "Elvis Presley Blues" and Gary Jules' wistful "Mad World" to huddle with Patty Griffin's lovely "Top of the World." The backbone tracks are many – Los Lonely Boys' rollicking "Real Emotions," Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez's divine "Don't Speak in English," Calexico's pulsing "Quattro." The outstanding tracks, meanwhile (Mindy Smith's "Come to Jesus," the Mavericks' "San Jose," Jon Dee Graham's "E. 11th Street," Eliza Gilkyson's "Not Lonely"), far outweigh the less inspired (the Thrills' "One Horse Town," Finn Brothers' "Won't Give In"), but the pleasure of Eastmountainsouth's "You Dance," Ian McLagan & the Bump Band's "You're So Rude," and Bob Schneider's "Come With Me Tonight" is its own reward. In this wealth of offerings, it's Kris Kristofferson with "Me and Bobby McGee" who resonates most. His limited range – strong and worn as faded denim – presents the seminal hit as affirmation: evocative, muscular, and as timeless a tribute to the art of songwriting as the Broadcasts themselves. (Release date: Friday, Nov. 26)

****

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