The Marfa Project (Minor Productions)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Nov. 28, 2008
Paul MinorThe Marfa Project (Minor Productions)
For his second solo album, local everyman Paul Minor headed to Marfa with a satchel full of melancholy turns of phrase and a brood of musical all-stars, including Marfa City Council member and El Orbits frontman David Beebe on drums. Minor tries on an array of voices over 12 songs, giving Marfa a ramshackle, farm-to-market vibe. "Devil May Care" is a raggedy, roll-out-of-bed opener that dumps Elvis Costello by the side of Highway 290 with a wicked hangover. Minor stabs farther west on "Here I Am," a meditation on high lonesomeness featuring an Augie Meyers-style organ solo that crackles to life like a distant San Antonio radio signal. Similarly, pop chestnut "Sweet and Sour Girl" gets a boost from Michael Crow's strategic Moog workout at the bridge. By contrast, quieter moments such as "Windmills" and "Live and Breathe" come through with unabashed, lump-in-throat tenderness. Like a two-fingered wave on an empty highway, these dispatches seethe with consoling charm.