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Justin Trevino

Texas Honkytonk – 1998 (Neon Nightmare)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Justin Trevino

Justin Trevino is only 24, but he's a master at a musical style that, for most of the country, faded from glory long ago. It never went away in Texas, of course, but if it's ever going to be revived nationally it's youngsters like Trevino who'll have to lead the charge.

And he could be just the man to do it. This album is pure, old-fashioned, Texas country music. Only 4 of the 14 songs are originals, but it's a definite compliment to say that they're basically indistinguishable from the old songs Trevino does. Texas legend Johnny Bush is along for two duets, and musical backing comes from members of Don Walser's and Cornell Hurd's bands.

But the unquestioned star of this show is Trevino's voice. It's a glorious instrument that can soar like Marty Robbins' at one instant, and remind of the great Wynn Stewart at another. In his phrasing, Trevino evokes past Texas greats like Johnny Rodriguez and Freddy Fender. The other newer singers who are doing this style of music simply can not match Trevino's voice - and he is so young he's likely still improving.