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Josh Abbott Band

Small Town Family Dream – 2012 (Pretty Damn Tough)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Josh Abbott Band

If you're seeking the throne the King of Texas Music, what better way to make your bid than recording a duet with a former king? That's exactly what Josh Abbott did on My Texas, a collaboration with Pat Green that's chock full of Lone Star State references and a not-so-subtle dig at Nashville music. But Abbott, who co-wrote 10 of the 13 songs on his third studio album, has firmly designed an identity for himself among the Texas scene's heavyweights.

While some country singers talk about small town life, Abbott gives specifics in odes to his west Texas background, such as Idalou and I'll Sing About Mine where he lambasts Kenny Chesney and similar artists with the line "Tractors ain't sexy, and working is hard." Ironically, Abbott collaborates with Jay Clementi, a songwriter, who has penned tunes for Martina McBride, Luke Bryan and other Nashville stars. Both Dallas Love, a double entendre for romance in the Big D and an airport in the City, and the first single, Touch are radio-friendly tunes that would fit in on many Nashville playlists. Radney Foster was a co-writer on the latter.

The album seems to represent many parts of Texas, including the Gulf Coast area of Matagorda Bay, perhaps the sweetest collaboration between Abbott and Clementi.

Abbott did great work with fellow Texas artists such as Brandon Rhyder on the socially-conscious Hell's Gates on Fire, a song about the wildfires that ravaged Texas last year, and he co-wrote the title track with Django Walker. He covered Flatland Farmer by West Texas folk/country artist Terry Allen to complete an album filled with theme of anti-Nashville, Texas Country, with the obvious exceptions of Dallas Love and Touch