Lonesome as a Shadow (Thirty Tigers)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., May 11, 2018
Clipping his consonants and flaaattening his vowels, South Texas scarecrow Charley Crockett damn near swallows whole words. Hatched in San Benito, raised in Dallas, and an Alamo City legacy by birth – Davy Crockett left him DNA – the airy country buck of self-described "Jewish/White/Creole descent" courts a lisp most obvious on the title track ("I come from the Gulf, where even Houston is way up north"). When he offers, "Oh goodbye, woe is me, bound for Georgia out of Tennessee," that other "T" music capital comes out "Tennethee." That constant tickle of the ear imbues Lonesome as a Shadow with a thrilling weightlessness. Like Lone Star soulman Leon Bridges, Crockett's an instantly authentic Texan blessed of a voice and, on this fourth full-length, all original tunes that lope familiar, reassuring. The lead instrument is often Emsy Robinson Jr.'s cheesecloth bass, complemented with accordion corners, trumpet and tambourine highlights, and ivory parameters lined by honky-tonk steel, plus only one of the dozen songs breaches the three-minute mark. When "The Sky'd Become Teardrops" changes tempos willy-nilly, the simple rhyme pops like a rim shot. At the end, Crockett asks, "Well, Jerry, your leg wiggling?" It will be after succeeding radio repeater "Ain't Gotta Worry Child." "Help Me Georgia" courts the song legacy of the titular name head-on and comes out even-steven atop Louisiana flavoring. Wondrous.