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Roger Creager

Long Way to Mexico – 2003 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Roger Creager

Having accomplished about all he can in the dance halls and barrooms of his native Texas, Roger Creager is out to conquer the rest of the country music world.Anyone who gives half a listen to his mainstream debut will realize Creager has an immense star waiting to be hung over Nashville.

Creager served notice earlier this year that he's a voice to be reckoned with. He teamed with Radney Foster on "Luckenbach, Texas" on the "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean" tribute to Waylon Jennings, and offered up a wonderful cover of Steve Earle's "Guitar Town" on a Texas Outlaws compilation CD. Produced by Lloyd Maines, Creager's 12 songs bounce from swing to shuffle to ballad and most points in between. Foster lends a couple assists in both songwriting and on vocals, co-writing "Love is Crazy" and singing on "I Say When I Drink What I Think When I'm Sober." Creager has several songwriting partners throughout and even covers Billy Joe Shaver's "Love is So Sweet."

With smart songwriting, infectious rhythms and a voice that lands somewhere between Chris LeDoux and Robert Earl Keen with a little Lyle Lovett thrown in for good measure, Creager has one of the year's freshest debuts.