Jack Saunders, Drew Kennedy, Taylor Mills, and Bruce Smith Band
For the Sake of the Song
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 6, 2007
Most folks recognize Jack Saunders from his longtime association with Shake Russell. Living for the Sunshine (White Cat), his third solo disc, offers a sturdy sample of the San Antonian's brand of folk 'n' country. Too earnest at times and clichéd at others, Saunders continues earning respect for keeping at it and giving the flavorful fiddle of Eleanor Whitmore a chance to be heard A deep voice that recalls Toby Keith and a writing style bordering on precious seems incongruous, but that's what New Braunfels' Drew Kennedy offers up on Dollar Theatre Movie (Sustain). Sure to be enjoyed by the Jack Ingram and Pat Green crowd, Kennedy doesn't have much new to say and has an even less original way to say it After touring the world as the lone female vocalist on Brian Wilson's Smile tour, recent Austin resident Taylor Mills is ready for a solo career. Lullagoodbye (AquaPulse), her debut, displays a crystalline voice that's undermined by cloying lyrics and melodies that aim for the ethereal. Wilson appears on a couple of tracks, but indicative of Mills' sensibilities, so does Tommy Shaw of Styx Austin's Bruce Smith Band impresses on its debut, Another Day in Texas, with a mix of twang, blues, and ballads. Smith's voice falls out of tune occasionally, but his songs bring together a wide-screen view that defies his youth and is sure to appeal to those holding Delbert McClinton and Ray Wylie Hubbard dear.