The Belleville Outfit

Wanderin' – 2008 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Belleville Outfit

The first clue to what Austin band the Belleville Outfit is about comes with the name itself, a twin-fold reference to the musical influence of New Orleans ("belle ville") and Django Reinhardt (via his well-known song, "Belleville"). But if you knew that fact before listening to this debut, you'd be surprised at the first thing you hear: not gypsy swing, not Nawlins r&b, but a piece of classic-sounding country rock.

That isn't a sign of false advertising, however, but merely an indication of the variety that lies within. There is plenty of both of those aforementioned strains (the swing side often reminiscent of another Austin group, the late Hot Club of Cowtown), but the band also ventures into some bluegrass-tinged acoustic country ("Wanderin'"), swings the blues on a couple of tunes ("Been Here Before," Warm Summer's Evening"), and finishes with the stately, folky pop of "Too Far to Fall." And these youngsters carry it all off with a formidable virtuosity and confidence that makes them sound like seasoned vets.