South Texas Suite (Six Shooter)
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., Feb. 3, 2017
Native Canadian Whitney Rose has really taken to Texas. The local's full-length bow, 2015's Heartbreaker of the Year, arrived stuffed with songs about lassos, rodeos, and boots. Now six-song rejoinder South Texas Suite, cut at Dale Watson's Ameripolitan Studios, continues the love affair both in subject matter and music. "My Boots" scoots on James Shelton's steel guitar licks, which come ready-made for packing a Central Texas dance hall. Teri Joyce's wistful "Bluebonnets for My Baby" allows Rose's sweet soprano to soar while showcasing the chops of her stacked backing band: guitarist Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard), bassist Kevin Smith (Willie Nelson), and ivory trader Earl Poole Ball (Johnny Cash), all of whom blaze on closing instrumental "How 'Bout a Hand for the Band." More Lone Star ephemera stampedes "Lookin' Back on Luckenbach," a two-stepper fiddled by Erik Hokkanen right into Texans' big hearts. Are the Western tropes overblown? Fittingly for the subject, yes.