Since relocating to Austin in 1990 at the age of 18, Eric Hisaw's steadily perfected his self-proclaimed "roadhouse rock" and Southwestern noir songwriting. That world remains filled with desperate, tenderhearted characters living in filthy motel rooms reeking of booze, sweat, and stale cigarette smoke, while trying to scrape together enough change for one last phone call to a lover who's not coming back, or maybe for a gas station hot dog and a few tallboys. Worse still, we haven't heard from these well-intentioned chancers since 2011's Ghost Stories. Holing up in Boerne's Poverty Studios with Shawn Sahm producing, contributing keyboards, and lending some authenticity to the closing cover of Doug Sahm's "Revolutionary Ways," Hisaw and band have emerged with bracing rockers including "Hurry It Up" and the title track, which bridge Stonesy raunch and Bakersfield twang. Accordion by the Texmaniacs' Josh Baca adds Tejano spice, especially on ballad "So Close." Then the bandleader evokes both his New Mexico youth and Merle Haggard's ornery spirit on boot-scooter "Reservation Radio," echoing Hag guitarist Roy Nichols' best riffs throughout. Eric Hisaw couldn't have pulled that off at 18.
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