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Walt Wilkins

Diamonds in the Sun – 2007 (Palo Duro)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Walt Wilkins

Texas singer/songwriter Walt Wilkins' latest displays elements of '70s country-rock, contemporary Austin alt. country and mainstream Nashville. The title track and "Red River Blues" are in particular reminiscent of The Eagles, while an effective cover of Robbie Robertson's "The Shape I'm In" reveals the influence of The Band.

There's an alt.-country edge to the weeper "Just Like Hank," in which the singer relates his despair to that of Hank Williams, as well as the bluesy "Stand Up Seven."

Elsewhere such tunes as "Trains I Missed," "You Can't Outdrink The Truth" and "All These Memories" would seem to have mainstream potential in the hands of such performers as Rascal Flatts or Brooks and Dunn.

Perhaps the strongest track is the Ray Stephenson/ Bob Dipiero composition "Honky-Tonk Road," in which Wilkins and his fellow Mystiqueros trade verses on the ups and downs of touring ("Well the lights are hot/ And the beer is cold/ Out here on Honky-Tonk Road").

Produced by Lloyd Maines, Wilkins is well supported by Bill Small (bass), Ramon Rodriguez (drums) and guitarists John M. Greenburg and Marcus Eldridge. With strong originals by Wilkins, some well chosen covers and stellar musicianship this is a solid effort throughout.