Jeff Talmadge
Gravity, Grace and the Moon

Bozart Records 1004

(available in Europe through CoraZong 255 054 / streetdate June 23th

Jeff Talmadge is often called Austin’s Best Kept Secret. On his fourth album (after Secret Anniversaries, The Spinning Of The World and Bad Tattoo) this excellent singer/songwriter proves that he is a most worthy claimant to that title. Lyrically he is one of the best, a true poet indeed, and a wonderful storyteller, in league with someone like David Olney to whom he best may be compared. Like David, he paints his situations and characters with a wonderfully fine (and witty!) brush, subtly describing his heroes who battle life’s evil forces. His engaging lyrics are full of vivid and original imagery which enables him to create a captivating and alluring atmosphere, most successfully so in prize track All The Things That She’ll Miss. His half-spoken, sometimes whispery delivery inevitably catches the ear. The gentle harmonies plus the delicate, folky instrumentation make sure that this wonderfully-crafted album really does stand out among the host of Americana releases. Classy back-up is provided by some of Austin’s most renowned session men, among whom Peter Keane, Chip Dolan, Glenn Fukunaga and Paul Pearcy.

Bert van Kessel

Visit Jeff Talmadge's Website

Billy Joe Shaver

Freedom’s Child

Compadre Records 2515



Bill Joe Shaver has always been a songwriter first and foremost, giving Waylon Jennings the well-known "Honky Tonk Heroes" and being covered by rockers ranging from Elvis to the Allman Brothers. Also he must have been an inspiration for guys like Steve Earle and Ryan Adams. Freedom's Child is Billy Joe Shaver's debut with the small, independent l Compadre Records and follow-up to his impressive, rock-oriented The Earth Rolls On, on which his son Eddy heavily featured for the last time; he was to die on December 31, 2000. Freedom's Child is his first "solo" album since 1987's Salt of the Earth; all albums after that one were recorded under the name Shaver as Eddy always played a prominent role. Billy Joe had to overcome his grief after three personal losses in a row and suffered severely from physical and mental problems. But he has climbed back, reuniting with producer R. S. Field for this new album on which guitarists Will Kimbrough and Jamie Hartford (son of the late John Hartford) skilfully fill in for Eddy. The 63-year-old charming Texas outlaw master delivers his songs in a way that is rough and vulnerable at the same time, telling his true stories from the down and out with fire and sincerity, his self-penned songs covering the full spectrum of Southern musical influences. He himself claims that the styles range from "kicking rock & roll" to barroom country to "bluegrass-sounding stuff." The lyrics to the driving title track are a tribute to the unknown soldier, there’s a wonderfully twangy tribute to Johnny Cash, a funny, rollicking "That's What She Said Last Night" and the light-hearted "Good Ole U.S.A.", the song Shaver already recorded for 1993’s Tramp On Your Street. It constitutes stunning proof of how Billy Joe has grown as a singer. Another remarkable track, "Deja Blues" is a sparkling country ditty, co-written by Todd Snider. The album closes in chilling fashion with a hidden track, the devastating electro-blues “Necessary Evil”, written and performed by Eddy.


Bert van Kessel

Visit Billy Joe Shaver's Website