Changing Horses

Changing Horses

Hearing Ben Kweller cite Garth Brooks as a childhood influence may not be welcome news to his fans, who have already followed the young songwriter through one abrupt stylistic shift. His Greenville grunge band, Radish, was as well-known for being at the center of a Nirvana-fueled major-label bidding war as for a hit in the UK (“Little Pink Stars”), and after the group called it quits, Kweller moved to New York and morphed into a heart-on-his-sleeve pop star. Now relocated to Austin, it seems he’s done the most clichéd thing possible: He’s made a country album. But Changing Horses (ATO) is a surprisingly logical extension of his work, much more Gram (Parsons) than Garth. The self-produced session is languid, muddy, and full of slyly pleasing melodies and impassioned singing; the steel guitar is simply icing on the cake. While naiveté has made Kweller’s recent work appealing, his lyrics can be embarrassingly trite. Yet for every “Wantin’ Her Again” and “Things I Like to Do,” there’s a sublime work like “Gypsy Rose” and “Old Hat” to convince you that Kweller may have found his niche.

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week