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Jay Boy Adams

The Shoe Box – 2007 (Rockin' Heart)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Jay Boy Adams

Though it's been nearly 30 years since Jay Boy Adams released a pair of albums for Atlantic in the '70s, the extended hiatus has not diminished this Texas singer/songwriter's gifts.

Adams is proficient with both up-tempo rockers and sentimental ballads. Amongst the latter the most effective is the title track, in which the singer reflects emotionally upon the past when he finds a box of photos stashed in a closet ("A box of faces/A box of time/A box of buddies/Their faces frozen with mine").

Other strong ballads are "Life In A Small Town," the tale of a young man so devastated by the death of his father at a young age that his downward spiral lands him in prison, and "For Home," in which chance encounters with strangers trigger memories of the singer's mother and father.

Standout rockers are "Waitin' On Five O'Clock," featuring a duet with Jack Ingram, the country-rocker "Color You Gone" and the bluesy "Water For My Horses."

Adams wrote 10 of the 12 tracks, with Jesse Winchester's "Showman's Life" and Adams' arrangement of the traditional gospel tune "John The Revelator" well chosen covers. Adams vocals are pleasant throughout, and in addition to Ingram his stellar support includes Marty Stuart, Lee Roy Parnell and Ray Benson. This impressive return to the studio represents a solid comeback.