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Amanda Cevallos

I'll Never Honky Tonk You – 2012 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Amanda Cevallos

There are touches of honky tonk, classic country and alternative country on Austin-based singer-songwriter Amanda Cevallos' "I'll Never Honky Tonk You." The honky tonk influence is most evident on the opening title track in which Cevallos uses the term in multiple ways ("My honky tonk heart is breaking/Waltzing away my blues/'Cause I've been out here dancing and a shaking/Thinking 'bout honky tonking you").

Augie Meyers' Farfisa organ adds a Tex-Mex feel to Texas Hold Him, one of several tracks, including He Won't Stop Leavin' Me Alone (with Dale Watson on lead guitar) and Read My Hips Swayin' Goodbye, that employ amusing wordplay.

Cevallos also appears to be influenced by the classic country of earlier decades. I Think I'm Goin' Crazy and Good For Nothin' But Each Other (a duet with fellow Texas indie artist Jonathan Terrell) sound like they could have been mainstream country hits in the '90s. The lone cover is an effective rendition of Crystal Gayle's 1978 hit Ready For the Times to Get Better.

There's a dark alt.-country edge to Jose Guadelupe that tells of her father's troubled life ("I use to wish you got put away/Maybe today would be a better day/I'd rather see you in jail, alive"). Another highlight is the ballad Smithville in which Cevallos describes her migration to Austin ("I'm not going back to Smithville/To live in the past/I put my finger on a map/And landed in Austin where the music's at").

With Cevallos' pleasant vocals and strong compositions nicely augmented throughout by a stellar guest list that includes Lloyd Maines (steel guitar), Earl Poole Ball (piano), Redd Volkaert (electric guitar) and producer James Hyland (rhythm guitar), Cevallos impresses.