Bob Cheevers: Tall Texas Tales

~ Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Ok, I admit it, I'm a fan of Bobs. I first encountered Bob around 8 years ago and was totally blown away by his live show, so, while I may be a fan, I am also one of his harshest critics. This is the umpteenth album from the Austin based storyteller, in a career that should have seen him as big a star as say Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash, but fate dealt a different hand for Bob. While he gained respect from fellow musicians, his talents have been largely missed by the public. His last album, Fiona's World, was not his finest moment, and while this new album is a somewhat return to form, it still does not capture the shear magic of One Man, One Martin or Gettysburg To Graceland.

To Cheevers and indeed his fans, the lyrics are just as important, if not more so, as the music. It is no exaggeration to say he is one of the last great American storytellers. His ability to let his music paint pictures in your mind is simply amazing. This album is a look at the heart of Texas, each song acting as an insight to Cheevers adopted home.

There are some moments of sheer magic here, but this album takes a couple of listens before it clicks. Give This Heart is a bittersweet tale of love and really is one of the best songs that Cheevers has ever written. Is It Ever Gonna Rain is classic Bob. The fragility of his voice laid bare on the sparse arrangement, which allows the lyrics to shine.

One track that would have been best left on the cutting room floor is the Zydeco tinged Luckenbach which just doesn't work, the accordion just becomes irritating while the mock crowd whooping is cringe worthy. Album opener Grown Up People is another that fails to ignite any passion, at best it can be described as a filler track. There is enough on here to suggest that these are temporary blips as album closer Falling is more like what we know Bob is capable of, while Mushroom Cloud Lil is an epic unfolding tale which brings to mind one of Bob's earlier classics, Old Soul.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good album, just not Bob's best, but still head and shoulders above other pretenders out there.

[][][][ (3.5/5)