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Jim Stringer and the Austin Music Band

Triskaidekaphilia – 2008 (The Music Room)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Jim Stringer and the Austin Music Band

Thirteen is usually considered to be an unlucky number, but the title of Jim Stringer's new record (which means "love of thirteen") indicates that he feels differently. It's the thirteenth album of a long career, the fourth with his AM Band, itself now in business for neigh on 10 years.

He kicks things off with an instrumental, a cover of Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser" that provides a three-minute overview of his musical influences; it's chock full of musical quotes (13, according to the accompanying press materials), from the themes to Green Acres and the Andy Griffith show to "Daytripper." Twelve more cuts of solid country music follow. There's a couple of looks back: "Here's the River," is Stringer's tribute to the barroom education provided by his father, and "Chevy Headed West," is his recollection of the moment of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. There's a great, Marty Robbins-country-style cover of "Come a Little Bit Closer" and a classic-sounding duet with Karen Poston on "We Took the Long Way." And there's "I Saw Them Together," Stringer's worthy contribution to the murder ballad tradition, this one hinged on an awful mistake. All in all, it's a fitting celebration of, even as it adds to, Jim Stringer's musical career.