The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Platters


Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, March 14, 2008, Music

Hayes Carll

Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

On his big-label debut, Trouble in Mind, Hayes Carll doesn't stray far from where his music's taken him on his first two discs. Some rave about the Houston native's talents as a Texas troubadour, but, to these ears, he sounds as derivative and uninspired as any other "Texas music" act, singing about whiskey and girls in a tired drawl you've surely heard before. There are bits of Todd Snider's folk and Steve Earle's energetic country twang in Carll's musical vision, but he never distances himself enough from either to sound fresh, no matter how many semiwitty turns of phrase he generates. With backing from Nashville (Al Perkins, Dan Baird, Will Kimbrough) and Austin (Lisa Pankratz, Brad Fordham), there's some warmth in the slight sway of "Beaumont" and the rumbling "Faulkner Street," but such moments are rare amongst the ramble of Trouble in Mind. (Friday, March 14, Cedar Street Courtyard, 12mid.)


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