John Wesley Coleman III

Greatest Hits (Super Secret Records)

Texas Platters

The haphazard sketch of a cowboy riding a bull – or perhaps the pilgrim mounting a Great Dane – amongst the scribbled liner notes of John Wesley Coleman's facetiously titled Greatest Hits betrays his musical style: doodler. That uncanny knack for homey imperfection results in songs sans stress or pretense, and explains why the charismatic garage bard remains one of Austin's purest songwriters. The Golden Boys' singer/guitarist arrives in a blue suit clashing preposterously with his shaggy hair on this 10th solo outing, which welcomes with "Tea and Sandwiches," a weird, woozy pop single wherein his warped vocals hover over Geena Spigarelli's percolating bass and Julia Hungerford's panting drums. Coleman's first post-fatherhood LP thus settles quickly into domestic bliss with touching astral-drone lullaby "Sleepyhead" and the romantic "Portlandia," comparing one couple's love to a French novel. The Texan's guitar pop jukebox boasts a proud country bent, most prominently Wil Cope's plaintive, steel-guitar-imbued "Falling out of Love," in which Coleman sounds like a grunge Gram Parsons, yowling, "If it ain't tragic baby, how can it be true?" Another rootsy climax arrives via Nick Allison co-write "Television," boogying like Sticky Fingers-era Rolling Stones. In context of his voluminous solo career, Greatest Hits finds Coleman with a tighter grip on reality than Nightmare on Silly Street, moving beyond the party rock cliches of Trans Am Summer Blues, with no whiff of garage punk à la Last Donkey Show. These Greatest Hits find Austin's "trash poet" at his most heartfelt.

***

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 John Wesley Coleman III
Texas Platters
John Wesley Coleman III
Microwave Dreams (Record Review)

Greg Beets, Feb. 10, 2017

Texas Platters
John Wesley Coleman III
The Love That You Own (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 23, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Jason Eady
I Travel On (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 7, 2018

Texas Platters
D.T. Buffkin
Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 7, 2018

More by Kevin Curtin
Big Bill Spins Heads With 360° Video
Big Bill Spins Heads With 360° Video
Freak-punk quartet “Loitering” in VR

Sept. 17, 2018

R.I.P. MC Overlord
R.I.P. MC Overlord
Groundbreaking local rapper seeded ATX hip-hop like no other

Sept. 13, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

John Wesley Coleman III

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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