THE LONESOME HEROES

Austin Chronicle Review of Crooked Highway

THE LONESOME HEROES: Crooked Highway

Crooked Highway by Doug Freeman 3 Stars. Fronted by local free spirits Rich Russell and Landry McMeans, the Lonesome Heroes' psych-country sound proves equally restless. Whereas 2006 EP Don't Play to Lose wandered with a gentle ease, the group's debut full-length moves in more focused, if experimentally flourished, directions. "Lonestar" opens with a lilting warp and rough guitar distortion, Russell's playful drawl shading Lyle Lovett. McMeans' soft trill on "Canary" and "Stardust" lifts the album into airier climes that balance Russell's earthier tones, like Alison Krauss with a Texas twang, the best songs marrying the two vocal impulses in duet. Like the titular thoroughfare, the LP's merit lies in its peripheral surprises, Seth Gibbs' subtle, effects-laden production winding McMeans' Dobro through the pull of Sarah Stollak's fiddle on "Detained Dream" and spotlighting Kullen Fuchs' French horn on "Turn On the Shine." http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid%3A696282