Reviews of El Western Motel
I like a bumper sticker, and one of the best I’ve ever had said “I’d rather be a fence post in Texas than the king of Tennessee” which we can attribute to Chris Wall. He may have been born in California but Chris Wall is one of the most Texas of all the Texas troubadours. He’s been a bit quiet in recent years, and these days splits his time between Montana and Texas, but returns with an un-plugged acoustic album which showcases his songwriting among the very best from the Lone Star state. Originally summoned to write with Jerry Jeff Walker in 1989, Jerry Jeff cut three Chris Wall songs on his landmark Live At Gruene Hall recording. These included the wonderful I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight and Trashy Women, which of course was later a huge hit for Confederate Railroad. El Western Hotel is far more stripped down than other Chris Wall releases, with Lloyd Maines supplying lead guitar, resonator guitar, Dobro and mandolin, and mandolin alongside Wall’s vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonica. And that’s pretty much it apart from some harmony vocals. That said, the production is beautiful, crisp, and full, it really is as though you are in the studio with them, and the songs never got too selfindulgent the way some from the singer-songwriter genre can do. Chris Wall has one of those voices that makes every word important, and when he sings you want to hear what he has to say, whether he’s telling a tale of an aging rancher in El Western Motel, quoting The Outlaw Josey Wales in That’s what They Say, or feudin’ friends stubbornly refusing to speak to each other in I Should Have Called, it’s equally compelling. The only song not solely from Wall’s pen is the album’s closer, Hello, I’m An Old Country Song, which he co-wrote with Dale Watson and was on Watson’s Carryin’ On release a couple of years ago. Taken a little quicker here it works just as well with this bluegrassy arrangement and proves that a great song is a great song. And speaking of great songs, right up there with my previous favourite Chris Wall songs I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight and Big In The Heart is So Long, I Love You, but despite the nice mandolin I couldn’t help wanting to hear it done as a full-blown electric honky tonker. Also killer is Silver Hair And Silver Wings, which would have worked really well as the theme for Crazy Heart. Chris Wall fans should be pleased with this release, while fans of Jerry Jeff, Tom Russell and Guy Clark are also likely to be delighted. Now if only we could encourage Chris Wall to record a bit more frequently…
Reviews of Just Another Place
Under: Great Texas Masterpieces
Wall definitely is one of the last real great country artists of the
Broken Record might be the most beautiful song of unrequited love
youll get the chance to hear this year.
Chris Wall is a Texan
musical mainstay. Hes one who has forged his way with musical truth, personal integrity to his craft, and
honesty in his voice. His songwriting is relevant, probing, and demanding.
Another Place is chock full of vivid images and raw-boned emotions...
delivers one of the best start-to-finish collections of outlaw country
since Waylon Jennings Honky Tonk Heroes.
Chris Wall is back, back in a big way... Everything true and simple and relevant and real about country music is here, laid out in the plain cowboy way. If you get this, well, you get it all.
Texas honky-tonker and his accompaniment present an unflinching and finely
etched portrait... With Just Another Place, Wall does old Hoss
With a whole lot of new
songs that grab you by the gut, this set is full of songs that should be staples on country radio if it was being true to
a little bit less honky tonk, a bit more folky cowboy fare here compared
to his previous efforts; what remains constant are the strength of Walls
songs and his supple baritone bringing them to life.
Walls four self-penned albums reveal a gritty, literate C&W
traditionalist worthy of his Lone Star troubadour pedigree.
Wall is one of the best...
There is no getting around with Just
Another Place just how great this record sounds.
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