Bruce Smith’s November 2018 release, “‘Til The Wheels Fall Off,” is one of those rare albums that feels immediately familiar while totally fresh and original. You can preview the album’s tracks and purchase it on his BandCamp page.
Aficionados of “The Austin Sound” know that it’s less of a sharply defined genre and more of an attitude. The town is one of the main music hubs in the United States, where musicians go to hear and be heard. It’s unique in that while it’s an extremely competitive environment, it is also a true community of creativity. Austin is simultaneously a sacred ground of tradition and rich, uncharted territory ripe for exploration. It’s traditional Blues, Rock, Country, Tex-Mex and Soul, with the final blend of these styles solely up to the musicians who venture there to create.
The opening track, “30 Days,” immediately grabs your attention with distorted guitars and fat, booming, superbly mixed bass forming a solid bed under the cool, confident delivery of the lyrics. “30 days, she’s been gone…30 ways everything gone wrong”…the song is an immediate classic that deserves a place in heavy rotation on your favorite Satellite Radio station.
The title track, “‘Til The Wheels Fall Off,” is a celebration of All Things Austin, with echos of classic Steve Earle and Doug Sahm. The lyrics “get it,” they get the heart and soul and vibe of this eternally revered genre of music.
“’59 Stratocaser” is another contender for radio, a plaintive “remember the days” exploration with a subtle Mark Knopfler / Dire Straits feel. The track pulls you in, it’s immersive and engaging and genuine. “Meet the master…that old three-tone Sunburst Stratocaster…”
Bruce immediately shifts gears out of “’59 Stratocaster” into “Longbranch Inn,” a roadhouse, raucous stomp through the images and mythology of Bible Belt Americana. It’s a love letter to the glory days of the Vaughan and Wilson Fab T-Birds.
The title “Cowboy Up” tells the tale of what’s inside…punctuated with precise and tasty guitar fills, it’s honky tonk dance music at its best.
“Elizabeth & Spring”…“It’s Saturday night on Elizabeth & Spring, where false prophets the pick pockets of every livin’ thing…” Bruce returns to the “high lonesome” sound of “’59 Stratocaser” with some of the strongest lyrics on the album. It shines with a weary Waits / Springsteen ethic, that there is often beauty in the darkness, and darkness in beauty.
On every level, the album is a masterpiece. It’s the sound of supremely talented musicians successfully capturing lightning in a bottle, of well-crafted songs brought into reality with all of the passion and conviction that they demand. It deserves a wide audience, and if you agree, you can go to any of Bruce’s Social Media links below and tell him so. Pick this one up today…you’ll be glad you did.
“‘Til The Wheels Fall Off” was produced by Greg White and Bruce Smith at SG Studios Ft. Worth, TX, mixed and mastered by Randy Caballero and Omar Vallejo at 512 Studios Austin, TX. Photography and Graphic Design by Eric Waugh. © All rights reserved.
- 30 Days 04:27
- ‘Til the Wheels Fall Off 03:47
- ’59 Stratocaster 03:41
- Longbranch Inn 03:12
- Cowboy Up 02:25
- Elizabeth & Spring 04:48
- Time Is Ours 03:58
- Terry the Texas Tornado 03:44
- Amanda and the Commander (Dance While You Got the Chance) 03:19
- She Laughs in Spanish (She Cries in Rain) 03:12
Bryan Austin – Drums
Randy Caballero – Piano and Rhodes
Matt Hubbard – Keys, Trombone, Accordion, Harmonica, Melodica
Spencer Jarmon – Lead Guitar
Will Landon – Bass
Bruce Smith – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Greg White – Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Shaniqua Williams & Danny Chaffin – Background Vocals