Summer Loving

Crooks

Summer Loving

Crooks

Wildfire

On its debut long-player, 2012's The Rain Will Come, Crooks hit on the perfect complement to their hard country when Flaco Jiménez's accordion spiced up "Heart Achin' Town." Now with Anthony Ortiz Jr. firmly planted behind the squeeze box, the local sextet's sophomore LP fulfills the Tex-Mex potential they've built toward. Wildfire ignites with the thumping chug of "Toe to Toe" and doesn't let up until everything's ashes. Josh Mazour's nasal twang hits perfect honky-tonk pitch, but the album refuses to settle into any single sound as "Fork in the Road" follows rocking guitar and accordion. "Sad Sad Song" sits as A-side highlight with Mazour's trembling vocal swinging lonely 'round the dance floor while naming-checking a litany of luminaries from Townes Van Zandt to Blaze Foley. Billy Joe Shaver's "The Git Go" is given a dark, bruising makeover, and the high noon opening of "New Mexico" sets off for Southwestern territory with horn-blasted ballad "The Hunted." "Comin' Around Again" kicks accordion-pop, but closing double shot "Late Night Lovin' Man" and "Bar Nights" reassert Crooks as new heroes of Austin's honky-tonk posse.

****

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