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Walt Wilkins

Mustang Island – 2004 (Highway 29)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Walt Wilkins

Singer/songwriter Walt Wilkins has been based in Nashville for the past 10 years, but his Texas roots are most evident on his latest.

Wilkins co-wrote most of the tunes here, and he tackles some serious themes without coming off pretentious or melodramatic. In "We've All Got Our Reasons" Wilkins seems to question the master plan ("If I ever get to heaven and I've got one question/I hope the good Lord ain't offended/Give me a world of pain between the cradle and the grave/Is that what was intended").

With the current trend of outsourcing and downsizing the song "When There's No Money Coming In" is particularly moving, as Wilkins examines the devastating effect of unemployment ("But now a balance sheet in a high-rise/A thousand miles away says you're not needed/Wipes clean the years you gave"). Among Wilkins' collaborators are Pat Green on "Wrapped," presented here with a different ending than on the version recorded by Green, and Danny Flowers (Don Williams' guitarist and writer of "Tulsa Time") on "Tonight I Might." Flowers also plays a mean wah-wah guitar on an effective cover of fellow Texas native Michael Nesmith's "Grand Ennui."

Walt Wilkins' latest effort has this transplanted Texan delivering some of the better contemporary sounds to come out of Nashville. (Walt Wilkins)