Stephen Bruton

From the Five – 2005 (New West)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Stephen Bruton

Texan Stephen Bruton's latest is full of roadhouse rockers, bluesy late-night introspection, terrifically vivid songwriting and even a Swanky Modes cover. Bruton, who gets help from guitarist Randy Jacobs and Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne among others, is best known for the work he's done folks like Alejandro Escovedo, Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Marcia Ball. But here Bruton affirms his own music as vital and worth your full attention.

Themes of regret and struggle, determination and hope are carried throughout on introspective songs like "In the Wind," on which Bruton asserts that "all that matters is from here on out," and "Treasured Wounds," whose barroom down and outs see themselves "like a coin that's been tossed/and they hope they're worth what they've lost." "Ordinary Man," done originally by Sam Moore and Junior Walker performing as the Swanky Modes in the cult movie "Tapeheads," is an interesting choice for a cover, and Bruton turns in a soulfully fun take on the song. Other standouts include the keyboard-driven "Put Me Out of Your Misery" and the lowdown "Walk By Faith."