The debut release from Austin-based The Lonesome Band is a blend of country, southern rock, punk and a touch of psychedelia with mixed results. The band is most adept on the more mellow tracks in which lead singer/lead guitarist Sam Whips Allison delivers effective vocals reminiscent of Robert Earl Keen, such as the ballad "Halfway There" (featuring nice steel guitar work by Dan Johnson and a tasteful solo from Allison) and the nostalgic "Make 'Em Dance," which finds Allison reflecting on early influences and aspirations ("I wish I played on the radio/On an old time hayride show/I'd have you spinning round in your living room/Picking songs and telling jokes") that led him down his career path ("I got myself a hillbilly band/To take me to the top").
Other highlights are the southern rocker "Love I've Never Known," in which the singer contemplates his choices upon realizing his feelings for a woman he has known all his life have grown ("On one hand, I could leave/Pretending this was all make believe/Then again, if I go/I'd always wonder if you were the love I've never known") and features a nice rocking guitar solo by Allison, and the closing instrumental "The Lonesome Waltz" that is augmented with fake crowd noises that recall Gram Parsons' mock live version of "Hickory Wind."
Some of the harder edged rockers, such as the opening "Agree to Disagree" and "Home of the Free," suffer a bit as Allison's vocals are not up to the challenge and fall flat. The monotone delivery of the title track diminishes the impact of an otherwise solid country rocker that effectively transitions mid-song into a psychedelic romp.
Produced by the band members, the aforementioned stellar work from Allison and Johnson is nicely supported throughout by Anthony Lucio (rhythm guitar, mandolin), Barrett O'Donnell (bass) and Miguel Gilly (drums). Despite the uneven quality of the vocals this is a promising debut.