Scratching out from under the influence of Dylan seems a veritable rite of passage for young songwriters, and Chris Brecht's local debut rewinds thoroughly through the Basement Tapes. His elongated nasal drawl, the easy rhythm of B-3 organ, and restless lyrics cutting sardonic all build upon firmly set foundations; "Readin' My Mind" even lifts its lilt straight from "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere." It's testament to the Austin songwriter's talent that The Great Ride is a trip worth retracing. "Night Highway 99" drives a rambler's harmonica into the steel of Lomita's Ray Jackson on "Someone Is Gonna Lose," Eleanor Whitmore contributing fiddle and Emmylou-styled harmonies. "A Song About Lightbulbs" burns mournfully, while "Better Grab My Coat" strips acoustic with a hint of Townes Van Zandt. "Absinthe" and "Belle Streets Midnight" drift though bluesy scenes drawing fatalistic import through Brecht's incisive vision, proving a promising, if indebted, first offering.
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