Stephen Bruton

Record review

Texas Platters

Stephen Bruton

From the Five (New West)

Although best known as a guitar slinger, Stephen Bruton is also a first-class songwriter. Among others, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Jimmy Buffett have recorded his songs. While the Saxon Pub mainstay has long demonstrated the ability to master a variety of rootsy styles with wit and grace, the creative juices on From the Five, his fifth solo album, are at low ebb. Bruton seems to be relying on formula, coasting along and hitting all the styles he's at ease with – some funky blues, a teary ballad, a touch of soul and country – while never producing anything exceptional. Bruton's a little more politically minded on From the Five than he's been in the past (as are so many songwriters these days), but his observations lack bite and imagination. Similarly, "Put Me Out of Your Misery" aspires to clever wordplay, but ends up silly. It's only on the album's sole cover, "Ordinary Man," a roadhouse rocker originally sung by Sam Moore and Junior Walker for the movie Tapeheads, that Bruton sounds buoyant and funky. From the Five begs for more such moments.

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle