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Saints Eleven

Coming Back Around – 2017 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Saints Eleven

Saints Eleven are unapologetic in their ramshackle stance, and given the tattered approach they take here, it comes as little surprise. Despite a defiant delivery at times, the music is weary yet determined, devoid of sweetening, but never less than honest. Produced by Walt Wilkins, the third effort by the Dallas trio features a rugged combination of hard scrapple blues, country and Americana, eschewing any sense that they may be seeking redemption or remorse. In a sense, this is the real deal - there's no hint of a happy ending, no posturing or pretence to suggest they know the path forward better than anyone else. It is instead a reflection real grit - dark, dusty and more than a little frayed around the edges.

While the band's original material dominates "Coming Back Around," all of it ringing with an air of authenticity, it's the sole cover - a revved up version of the Buck Owens classic "Cryin' Time" - that sums up the sentiments etched in the entire album. Singer Jeff Grossman evokes the age-old heartbreak inherent in the homespun sound of true contemporary country, specifically in the tears in the beer variety. But nowhere is there any hint of self-pity or any plea for forgiveness. Songs such as "Almost Home," "Heartbreak Songs" and "For Those That Came" typify the dry deliberation and weathered resolve, one that defines Saints Eleven's stoic stance.

It's not all dry and desolate however. The uptick in the chorus that accompanies "My Heart" and the twangy tones of "Coming Back Around" reinforce the resolve that's inherent in their approach. They are a restive bunch after all, and with "Coming Back Around," that inherent instinct is always readily apparent.