Innocent Victims & Evil Companions (Forty Below)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Feb. 26, 2016
Following the path beaten by 2013's critically acclaimed Unknown, Bill Carter veers a bit further from the blues he's been associated with since Stevie Ray Vaughan covered his cowrites "Willie the Wimp" and "Crossfire" in the Eighties. At 65, the Austinite since 1976 now enters an American heartland closely associated with Joe Ely and Bruce Springsteen. The ugly scene painted throughout "Bughouse in Pasadena" bristles with the appropriate amount of crazy, and "Missing Guru" references the local, still-at-large swami convicted of sex with children utilizing Charlie Sexton's electrified sitar. Tex-Mex trappings and Beach Boys harmonies bring a vivid contrast to "Moscow Girl," while "Solar Powered Radio" sings his craggy praise of Central Texas' rising superstar of the airwaves, Sun Radio, with a stomp and howl. Employing a homegrown wrecking crew – drummer Dony Wynn, guitar slingers David Holt and Denny Freeman, and Richard Bowden on fiddle – Bill Carter fashions Innocent Victims into a literate celebration of Austin and first-rate demonstration of his own brilliant songwriting.