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Tommy Alverson

Me On The Jukebox – 1998 (Two Of A Kind Productions)

Reviewed by Bill Silvers

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CDs by Tommy Alverson

Tommy Alverson's a regular performer in North Texas clubs and at festivals, where his brand of Texas-style honky-tonk and country have earned him a loyal following.

The how-to of "Chilihead- No Beans" and the catchy Texican-flavored "Una Mas Cerveza" feature big choruses of friends and family, and succeed as sing-alongs. (Though "Cerveza," tracking at 5:52, carries the catchy chorus out a little farther than need be.) Both tunes inspire a Jimmy Buffett-like "party along" spirit.

Several songs also make particular mention of local places and events, like the swingin' "Cowboy Mardi Gras" (Fort Worth) and "Lookin' Back To Luckenbach," presenting Texas music as the antidote to the ills of the current Nashville music scene. In turn, the good-humored, uptempo shuffle of "Havin' Fun Is Hard Work" asks listeners to come to the show - "we'd love to have you join our family," and pointedly states of his music, "we don't do the Nashville thing, so don't ask for none of that Garth bullshit please."

There's more to the record than Texas pride and sing-alongs. The band is a consistent strength, featuring Alverson and his son Justin on guitars. "I Don't Think I'll Go To Mexico" gives Alverson a nice showcase for his picking on gut-string guitar. The band provides solid, tasteful support, with particularly nice work from Ray Austin and Gary Carpenter on steel and multi-instrumentalist Jim Richmond on the variety of honky-tonk stylings here. Producers Lloyd Maines and Alverson do a fine job of bringing it all together. The love songs "Follow Your Heart" and "Lovin' You" (with nice backing vocals from Terri Hendrix) eschew any local name-checking and provide the best songs and most moving moments on the record, moments which Texan and non-Texan alike can well appreciate. When he speaks to these universal concerns, Alverson does his finest work. (3910 Cedarwood Court, Arlington, TX 76017, 817-483-1019)