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Eleven Hundred Springs

Bandwagon – 2004 (Palo Duro)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Eleven Hundred Springs

There is a traditonal country feel to Austin's Eleven Hundred Springs, with a touch of the '60's Bakersfield sound and the '70's Outlaw movement. The Bakersfield influence is felt most on "Northside Blues," "If I Was A Candle" and particularly "The Only Thing She Left Me Was The Blues," which features Buck Owens/Don Rich type harmonies.

There is also a strong Waylon Jennings feel on several tunes, most notably in "A Straighter Line" and "Can't Win For Losing." The song "Long Haired Tatooed Hippie Freaks" not only sounds Waylonesque, but seems to turn back the clock lyrically as the singer talks of being made to feel out of place as a long haired country singer - something that was a rarity for Waylon and his Outlaw contemporaries, but hardly uncommon these days.

Elsewhere there is a Rodney Crowell ballad quality to "Gina From San Jose" and "Hank Williams Wouldn't Make It Now In Nashville Tennessee," the latter a lamentation on the current state of country music in the mode of Larry Cordle's "Murder On Music Row." The focal point of the band is lead singer and primary songwriter Matt Hillyer, who is joined in a duet by the late Ronnie Dawson on "Why You Been Gone So Long" - a song originally recorded in 1993 that has been remixed and partially rerecorded for this release.

Though burdened at times by clich+d lyrics, Eleven Hundred Springs serves up an entertaining collection of retro country music.