Album review: LITTLE TEXAS – 4 Classic Albums on 2 CDs

Cherry Red [Release date 12.08.22]

In the nineties, Little Texas were country rock’s most famous unknown band.

Unknown outside of the USA perhaps, but a multi platinum selling band in their home territory through that decade.

This 2 CD set contains the four albums, 1992 to 1997, that spun off 15 hit singles and sold upward of five million.

CD1: First Time For Everything (1992)and Big Time (1993)
CD2: Kick A Little (1994) and Little Texas (1997)

For six years the six man band rode the crest of the country rock wave. Their Nashville heritage fed directly into the kind of music popularised by The Desert Rose Band and The Eagles, with a smattering of Bruce Hornsby piano stylings added to the mix. It wasn’t unique, but it grew into a distinctive sound.

The debut album, First Time For Everything, spawned the first of many hit singles, yet the music is a little uneven. Like all the best country rock, they left space between the grooves and created a moody sense of harmony, reflective of the story in the lyrics.

That worked best on the single releases, ‘Some Guys Have All The Love’ and ‘You And Forever and Me’, both reaching Top Ten status on the Country Charts (Dann Huff guested on guitar).

They had learned early on that every song you write is proved and/ or improved by road testing, and so they were constantly on tour, clocking up 300 gigs in a year regularly.

Second album, Big Time, is a peach. The confidence gained from the debut’s success is writ large through all 38 minutes.

It was the band’s breakout album, contributing a number 1 hit, ‘My Love’ and several more fullbodied country rock chart entries. ‘What Might Have Been’ reached no.2 position and the song that became their calling card, ‘God Blessed Texas’, reached no.4.

1994′s Kick A Little shows just how much they’d learned in the previous three years. By expertly merging rock, pop and country, they had moulded their music into into a discrete, identifiable sub genre with a wide demographic appeal. As singles, the title track, ‘Amy’s Back In Austin’ and ‘Southern Grace’ all charted.

There are plenty of well worn country tropes trailing through the band’s fourth album, Little Texas – it’s full of dirt roads and blue collar sentiments – and they use that sense of familiarity to draw us in, then hook us with the songs, the music and the emotion. In a way it’s an expression of all they’ve learned in the previous 5 years, on the road and in the charts, including a lot more attitude.

According to : “the performances are tighter and more effective, making the record one of their best.”

The band broke up soon after. Four of the six core members re-established the band 7 years later, going on to release two more albums. ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

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