Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Rick Shea's "The Town Where I Live" is an eclectic mix of country, blues, folk and rock. The opening "Goodbye Alberta" is a country ballad that has the singer attempting to assuage guilty feelings ("Goodbye Alberta, I hope your troubles pass/Goodbye Alberta, we were never going to last") featuring band mate Stephen Pratt on accordion providing a Tex-Mex feel. The gloomy title track voices both dissatisfaction with the present ("You'll waste your whole life in this ragged old town") and pessimism for the future ("I might catch a ride/I might jump a train/But I'd just be someplace where it all looked the same").
Some of the stronger tracks are bluesy rockers, such as "The Starksville Blues," which also has a touch of Waylon Jennings, as well as "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" and "Hold On Jake," which feature hot guitar solos from Shea. Other highlights are the folksy "Trouble Like This," with harmonies from Cindy Wasserman, and "I Guess Things Happen That Way," the Jack Clement tune made famous by Johnny Cash that features guest drummer Shawn Nourse laying down a beat reminiscent of The Crickets' Jerry Allison.
Produced by Shea (mandolin, pedal steel, Dobro), the musicianship is stellar driven by Shea's lead guitar work and multi-instrumentalist Pratt (electric and baritone guitars, acoustic bass, organ), with solid support from Dave Hall (electric bass) and Steve Mugalian (drums, percussion). After nearly three decades of recording, Rick Shea's 10th solo effort entertains with pleasant vocals, smart compositions and solid performances throughout.