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Walt Wilkins

Fire, Honey and Angels – 2000 (Groovetone)

Reviewed by Tamara Bunnell

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CDs by Walt Wilkins

Texan Walt Wilkins, already an established Nashville song writer, proves with this CD that his true place is in the spotlight. This 12-song release, Wilkins1 second, is exquisite. His take on the American story is Steinbeck superb; gritty as a small town back road, true as a grandmother's bible and hard as heartbreak. Wilkins1 voice is smooth without being too pretty, and he has a fine collection of stellar musicians behind him. Wilkins and band are also responsible for the clean and spare production.

Every song is strong with each exploring varied elements of the broad Americana sound. Delta blues mixes with country mixes with folk, and subtle hints of Appalachian reel and Tex-Mex conjunto can be heard. Overall, the effect is more in line with a revved up Nanci Griffith or Tish Hinojosa than Hank Williams, though the hidden track at the end is a true blue hillbilly stomp. Varied as the influences are, however, the strength of Wilkins1 maturity and distinctiveness as an artist provides the bridge, and a streamlined style emerges.