Darrell McCall

Old Memories and Wine – 2004 (Heart of Texas)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

CDs by Darrell McCall

Veteran honky-tonker Darrell McCall sings heartache hooks-songs for all he's worth on his first album in many years. However, the 12-song set produced by labelemate/friend Juston Trevino doesn't exhibit much versatility, despite some welcome additions by Mona McCall.

If you've heard Trevino's new disc, you know what to expect from the sound of this one. This is traditional country music - fiddle, steel, guitar, occasional woodblock on the drums, and some tight, tasteful back-up vocals. Mona McCall brings in some fresh Connie Smith stylings with the tragic weeper "The Deepening Snow" and the bi-lingual love ballad "The French Song." Both are welcome diversions. Vocally, Darrell McCall's emotive shudders and crying vibrato evokes Ray Price's best years. This technique is put to good effect on yearning-for-a-lost-love ballads such as "Old Memories and Wine," "May Time My Lady" and I Miss You Already." Further, he sounds quite convincing as the chagrined cuckold in the somewhat jaunty "Divorce Me C.O.D." and a nifty Ernest Tubb oldie "Answer the Phone."

That said, McCall demonstrates a tendency to over-emote on a series of similar sounding ballads, which makes this a bit too one-dimensional.