'Texas Gypsy Fire'
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 6, 2012
Oliver RajamaniTexas Gypsy Fire
A gypsy, or Romani, living in Central Texas, Oliver Rajamani masters many instruments: guitar, mandolin, dumbek, oud. With them, he's built an audience on worldly sounds blended atop American roots rhythms. The result is both exotic and unique. Sixth disc Texas Gypsy Fire comes star-studded, with guests Willie Nelson, Edie Brickell, Dale Watson, Eric Johnson, Carolyn Wonderland, and Cindy Cashdollar, but even with that much talent, Rajamani is front and center throughout. At times, it's hype when someone of Nelson's caliber is mentioned, yet plays undistinguished guitar on one track. Likewise using Watson on the smoky blues "Texas Cactus Indian Flower" seems disingenuous. Elsewhere Rajamani's vocals are, at times, amateurish and out of tune, while his lyrics are childlike. The complete lyrics to the title track seem to be, "Come on baby take a walk with me." Well played and inventive, Texas Gypsy Fire doesn't stand up to repeat listening.