Brandon Rhyder

Head Above Water (Reserve)

Texas Platters

Brandon Rhyder

Head Above Water (Reserve)

Head Above Water, Brandon Rhyder's sixth CD, is the epitome of the Texas Red Dirt scene. Contemporary country with a hint of soul and moments of reflection, it's undone by its complete lack of originality, songs so full of cliché that they border on embarrassing. There's undoubtedly an audience for Rhyder's singer-songwriter moves, and his tremulous vocals place him distinctively above others working the same fallow field, but his subjects – relationships and living the simple life – have been well-covered, and he brings nothing new to them. Retreads of retreads tend make one's head hurt. Producer Walt Wilkins, who worked with Rhyder on his breakthrough, Conviction, offers atmospherics that come across as prog-rock fluff more than Texas plains mysterious, especially on the ambitious title track. Elsewhere, Rhyder offers "big tall trees" and "a snowball straight to hell" on the laugh-out-loud "Battery." What's sad is that if Head Above Water weren't so damn serious, it wouldn't be half as funny.

*

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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 Brandon Rhyder
Texas Platters
Brandon Rhyder
Every Night (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 19, 2008

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bob Livingston
Up the Flatland Stairs (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 29, 2018

Texas Platters
Tish Hinojosa
West (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 29, 2018

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

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Brandon Rhyder

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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