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4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic from the king of Texas roots music, May 11 2009
This review is from: Just Us Kids (Audio CD)
Just Us Kids is a worthy follow-up to 07's Childish Things even if it falls just shy of that album's rugged greatness. For those who like their roots rock served with grit, wit and honesty, McMurtry's sharp guitar riffs and sharper lyrics still conjure harshly vivid images of life in middle America, and the Bastards still deliver the sparse but agile backing that made Live in Aught Three stand up to repeated listening. The mood on this album is dark though never dreary, largely fueled by the artist's disgust with George W and his cronies. Of course, the risk with such overtly political tunes as `God Bless America' and `Cheney's Toy' is that they mightn't endure the test of time regardless of the listener's political leanings. Failed romance and poverty (material and otherwise) are hardly new themes for McMurtry, but the white-trash soap operas of 'Ruby and Carlos' and 'Fire Line Road' scale new `heights' of despair. Leavening the mix are a hand-full of guitar-driven boogeys (`Bayou Tortous', `Freeway View'), though even these are somewhat lower on the raucousness scale than you'd expected from the man behind `60 Acres' and `Lobo Town'. The best of the bunch is probably the meandering 'Hurricane Party,' an affecting acoustic tune of post booze-up regret and resignation a la 'Lights of Cheyenne'. Overall, this would be any other artist's masterpiece, but because we are talking about James McMurtry here, it is just another classic; never less than completely engaging, but sometimes a little too grim for its own good. While a must-have for believers, newcomers are directed to the two albums mentioned above unless you are the type that takes your bourbon straight so you can feel it burn all the way down.
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