Damon Bramblett

It's the voice that strikes you first: deep, lugubrious, slightly warbly. Second it's the songs, the result of years of craning an ear toward the works of writers like Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. Yet Damon Bramblett's music was first heard by most listeners when Kelly Willis covered "Heaven Bound" on 1999's What I Deserve. Bramblett takes his turn here on that and other songs he penned after moving to Austin from Bangs in 1989. Produced by Lloyd Maines, who also plays pedal and lap steel, and backed by drummer Conrad Choucroun and bassist Kevin Smith, these eleven tunes veer from the rock-pop of "When I Was Blind" to the honky-tonk of "Today I Started Drinking Again." Bramblett carves out cinematic imagery on "Nobody Wants to Go to the Moon Anymore" and the desperate "Waiting for the Mail," with its hypnotic repeated lines and funereal accordion break. Bramblett writes about the small-town underbelly with a keen eye and his tongue in cheek, often as profound as he is clear, and creates a dignified and darkly humorous debut.

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