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Call Me Lonesome

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Album Review

Dave Insley's music is steeped in traditional country. Much like kindred spirits Junior Brown, Wayne Hancock, and the Derailers, Insley harks back to the days (and nights) when honky tonks populated the American southwest. With his plaintive twang, he sings about such timeless country music themes as love and loss, farming and cowboys. He even has two tunes with the word "mountain" in the title. Standout numbers like "There's Gonna Be a Few Changes," "I'm Afraid of Dyin'," and the title track would have fit in well with the tunes that Ernest Tubb and Buck Owens used to rule the country airwaves. The tongue-twisting ditty "Rob Boy" sounds like something Johnny Cash might have followed "Boy Named Sue" up with. These comparisons aren't to say that Insley is a derivative artist; it's just that he often works within traditional styles. He isn't such a traditionalist, however, that he won't let the electric guitars rock out at times. Both "Laid to Waste" and the soul-charged "Own a Mountain" flash some arena rock riffs. More interesting, from an arrangement standpoint, is the occasional use of saxophones and even a clarinet — instruments not often associated with country music. While a little jarring at first, these horns do make sense as Insley's music is drawn from the roadhouses, where R&B and honky tonk weren't far removed from each other. Ted Belledin's clarinet gives an unusual twist to "Gilded Cage"'s Western swing. Besides Belledin's clarinet and sax work, Insley also gets strong support from such players as veteran Dave Alvin guitarist Rick Shea, one-time Glen Campbell fiddler Ron Rutkowski, and rockabilly filly Rosie Flores, who lends her vocals to "Maricopa Mountains." Call Me Lonesome is an impressive debut filled with plenty of old-school country charms but nicely updated with a few contemporary touches.

Call Me Lonesome, Dave Insley
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