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Justin Trevino

Too Many Heartaches – 2004 (Heart of Texas)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Justin Trevino

On his fifth album, Justin Trevino serves up a remarkably engaging set of honky-tonk shuffles and barroom ballads right out of the Ray Price/Marty Robbins era. One of the few acts that can effectively execute a recording trifecta - producing, singing, songwriting - the 31 year-old Texas native exhibits palpable downhome soul at every turn.

Musically, Trevino highlights the limber fiddle work of Bobby Flores and Dickie Overby's fluid pedal steel to attain the sawdust-laden atmosphere of late '50s/early '60s honky-tonk. Catchy shuffles "Texas Honky Tonk," "Too Many Heartaches" and Darrell McCall-assisted "Face to the Wall," churn with clever wordplay reminiscent of Harlan Howard. By contrast, hurtin' songs la "Stranger in Our House," "I Turn to the Wine" and "The End" are piercing expositions of estrangement and impending loss that any heartbroken barfly would be proud to punch up on the jukebox. Moreover, one of country's lost staples, the cheatin' song, is movingly resurrected with "Forbidden Love" and the Norma Jean duet "Love is No Excuse."

Seamlessly produced and expressively sung, this disc makes a compelling case for Trevino as the finest traditional honky-tonker of our times.