Black Music Matters Festival

The Steve Tenpenny Band

Westbound Sun – 2005 (No Cents)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

See it on Amazon

CDs by The Steve Tenpenny Band

Fans of Jack Ingram, early Steve Earle and Reckless Kelly will find plenty to twang their world here. Steve Tenpenny displays enough innate Texas charm to appeal to followers of country-oriented roots music ("Star-Crossed Lover," "Angel" and the title song) and frat boy sing-alongers ("Texas Girl," "San Antone" and "Good Beer and Good Buddies") alike.

The disc doesn't exactly present anything startlingly fresh; Tenpenny succeeds with accessible, catchy songwriting, vocals that seem familiar (see above mentioned artists) but honest and a strong band and guest players behind him.

"Mexico" is a good example of Tenpenny's ability to make generic appealing It's a stereotypical ditty about gas station robbing lovers on the lam trying to make it south of the border. Of course, things end badly, but not before the would-be Clyde wearily groans out the final chorus to his would-be Bonnie. But, hell, songs about Mexico and robbing and dying in the street are always fun, Tenpenny does a good job of selling the song with his lazy drawl and guest mandolin player Vinnie Bean Garbonzo provides perfect picking. All that adds up to a pretty good time, which also sums up "Westbound Sun."