texas1

Rarely has Eugene Chadbourne's love for intelligent country music been expressed so convincingly. Texas Session is a professional studio recording, a session held in 2000 with Susan Alcorn on pedal steel, Walter Daniels on harmonica, and David Dove on trombone. The instrumentation is obviously unusual, but this rhythm section-less lineup works perfectly. The songs are mainly taken from the repertoire of Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, and Ernest Tubb. Arrangements have been carefully crafted and rehearsed, even the Doctor's voice sounds a little better than its usual self. This project is not about deconstructing the country & western idiom, but rather enhancing it, expanding it. What it means is Chadbourne respects the original compositions in every way, putting his heart into the lyrics, following a suitable tempo, etc. But freedom in the arrangements and room for improvisation, especially in introductions and conclusions, provide a different, experimental setting. All the songs are fully recognizable and there are no brutal changes or painful outbursts. The endings to "Slow Down Old World" and "When the Grass Grows Over Me" feature beautiful delicate interplay between guitar and pedal steel. The Sahm medley "Revolutionary Ways"/"I Don't Want" is full of good free form parentheses. Texas Session is well-tempered, restrained, even more so than Another Country. Fans of the wacky Doctor may feel a bit left off, others will appreciate the virtuoso playing and the intelligent, sensible arrangements.

- AllMusic Review by François Couture

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