Last Of The Country Gentlemen

This Texas singer-songwriter works in epic strokes. His 2001 album with the power trio Lift to Experience, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, was a sprawling two-CD forecast of Armageddon. This solo debut is as commanding: emotional trial ("Woman, When I've Raised Hell") and despair ("Country Dumb") stripped to Pearson's fraught vocals and hypnotic, irregular fingerpicking. He veers from hush to howl in torrents of confession like a prairie-minister cross of Bob Dylan's talking blues and Jeff Buckley's raptures. But when Pearson gets to the apology in "Sorry With a Song," his faith in love rings loud and pure through the hell.

Listen to "Woman, When I've Raised Hell":

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From The Archives Issue 1134: July 7, 2011