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 40 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
Review: Johanna Heilman, <i>When We Were Electric</i>
Review: Johanna Heilman, When We Were Electric
When We Were Electric (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, June 30, 2023

Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, <i>Split</i>
Review: Large Brush Collection & Creekbed Carter Hogan, Split
Tape of tender lullabies envisions a warm refuge for queer people

Wayne Lim, May 12, 2023

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
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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