Bill Carter (Forty Below)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Dec. 22, 2017
On 2016's Innocent Victims and Evil Companions, Bill Carter enlisted nearly every A-list talent in Austin. Here, the pivotal songwriter strips down for his eponymous 10th LP. Consider it a reintroduction. He leads with his biggest hit, "Crossfire," re-molded from the familiar Stevie Ray Vaughan blast into an aching plea. Likewise, "Willie the Wimp" burns with sparse guitar and percussion, Carter's tenor gritty but trembling. "Anything Made of Paper" comes alive in its rawer reworking, "Jacksboro Hiway" trades the original's bluesy danger for a wearier pull, and "Paris" swirls in a beautifully nostalgic glow. Taking Carter's songs down to their essence may not reclaim them from their more popular versions, but the album emphasizes his exceptional songwriting even more.