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Doug Moreland

Doug Moreland – 2006 (Big Hat)

Reviewed by Don Armstrong

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CDs by Doug Moreland

Moreland moves easily among the touchstones Texas country music: western swing that channels Bob Wills ("End of the Trail"); cocky rockabilly ("A Boy Like Me"); smooth honky-tonk, solidified with Lloyd Maines' steel ("Not Afraid to Fall") and, perhaps best of all, the mariachi-flavored "Houston." He completes the east Texas tour with numbers entitled "Dallas" (a Moreland original) and "Heaven or Austin." If any Texan thinks that adds up to 4 stops on the I-35-45-10 triangle, it comes as no surprise.

The state's singularly distinctive sound may make it hard for some to establish their own voice, but for others, it is a well-understood language with which to assert their skills. Moreland falls in the latter crowd and gives the rodeo bull a good ride. If he buys in a bit too much-with the "We've got a problem" refrain in "Houston," for instance, which should have been retired by Tom Hanks - he gets a lot of other classic touches just right, not least his parody of "I've Been Everywhere," reworked to list beer brands. That is an adherence to tradition - both song choice and methodology - that threatens to collapse under its own weight, but Moreland's wit makes it work. (12301 Lowden Lane, Manchaca, TX 78652)