Step Right Up

If Charlie Robison's songs lack the confessional nature of Escovedo's, he's just as adept at storytelling. Robison's sophomore major-label outing is as cocksure as these efforts come. He may possess the chiseled looks and the production sheen of modern Nashville, but the Bandera singer rocks like a pure outsider. With yarns too insightful and irreverent to make him another hat trick, Robison refuses to pander; "Step Right Up" works on a gut level that continually surprises.

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