The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, November 16, 2012, Music

James Hand

Mighty Lonesome Man (Hillgrass Bluebilly)

James Hand makes music that went out of style more than a half-century ago. Still, every new release from the man known as Slim seems like an event. Mighty Lonesome Man, his fifth overall and first in three years, follows the formula of his previous work. It's deeply heartfelt, Texas-bred honky-tonk, simply wrought. Plus he attracts top-shelf talent like Earl Poole Ball, Cindy Cashdollar, and Alvin Crow to play along, assuring Hand's songs sound as authentic as the man who writes them. "Lesson in Depression" and "Wish You Would Kiss Me" both serve as prime examples of what he's capable of: wide-eyed or dewy-eyed, straightforward, and delivered with a catch in his voice always bringing to mind Hank Williams Sr. "Get Rhythm," a CD bonus track, demonstrates he's got some Johnny Cash down deep as well. Forget last of a dying breed. Hand's in a genre all by himself.


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