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Brian Burns

The Eagle & The Snake: Songs Of The Texians – 2002 (Bandera)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Brian Burns

Brian Burns' third release is a musical history of Texas, beginning in the early 1800's and ending with a look into the future.

Burns kicks it off with Marty Robbins' "Man Walks Among Us," a celebration of wildlife in the desert that concludes with ominous foreshadowing ("Soon will be gone all the desert/and cities will cover each hill"). The Alamo is remembered with a recitation of Col. William Travis' letter set to music, and "Ballad of the Alamo" from the John Wayne film. Burns also salutes those lost in a lesser known battle with his composition "Goliad." There are several other effective covers with Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina," a revamped Texas version of the Hank Snow classic "I've Been Everywhere" and Tom Russell's "Gallo Del Cielo."

Burns is joined by Russell on "El Llano Estacado" and Gary P. Nunn on "Well Of The Blues." Standout Burns compositions include "The Crash at Crush," about an 1896 train collision near Waco, and the closing track "The Last Living Cowboy," a haunting vision of a future even more bleak than that which opens the album ("Wide open spaces are yesterday's news as the world reaches out to the stars/and all of the good things a Texan once knew went out with the third world war").

This is an ambitious project, but Burns proves that he is up to the task. (Brian Burns)