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Chris Wall

Any Saturday Night in Texas – 1999 (Cold Spring)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Chris Wall

Ah, if only the title of this beguiling live album were accurate, and we could expect this caliber of music at a typical weekend Texas honky tonk. The Lone Star State would have to erect a Pat Buchananesque wall - not to repel Mexican emigration, but to put the brakes on a tidal wave of music lovers rolling in from the states.

Chris Wall, who recorded the disc at Gruene Hall on Independence Day, has a baritone remiscent of Ed Bruce, another Texas troubador, but he can writea song like nobody else. On "I Feel Like Singin' Along" a road-weary musician sits with a bottle in one hand and a pistol in the other. Only the thought of possible posthumous fame and his ex-wife getting all theroyalties stays him from suicide.

On "A Gal From San Antone," Wall compares his life to a "redneck Fellini movie" and tries to bargain with God ("Would you give us back Keith Whitley if we sent You Billy Ray?"). He can also do tender love songs ("Big in the Heart") and truck-driving anthems ("33 Reasons to Say Good-bye") withequal aplomb. Track this one down; it's well worth it.