Ethan Azarian Cross'n Over

It’s almost instantaneous. You can’t help but smile when you listen to this guy. Ethan Azarian, son of award winning children’s illustrator Mary Azarian and folkie Tom Banjo, is a pretty colourful story in himself. From his slanderous antics as the front-man for Austin’s Hollywood Indians, to his somewhat more upstanding role in the band Orange Mothers, Ethan’s work has made him an Austin legend. He is also an accomplished painter, a local favourite whose art, like his music, is charming with a peculiar sense of humour. What might now be characterised as an innocent quality, at one time looked more like juvenile delinquency. Azarian and the Hollywood Indians arrived on the Austin scene with a provocative series of utility pole flyers lambasting local celebrities with an onslaught of ridicule and obscenities, as well as a series of challenging drinking contests. But Azarian and his cronies settled in after a while and evolved into the Orange Mothers. Four albums later, is a body of work that grew out of a low mumble and into a mélange of folk-derived and nursery rhyme inspired pop. Cross’n Over is Azarian’s second album — a collection of thoughtful and genuinely heartfelt songs that retain a definite element of innocence. The album’s finest features, aside from Azarian’s lyrics and unmistakable voice, are the cello arrangements and pedal steel. Each adds to the richness of the experience that is Ethan Azarian. If you haven’t already checked this guy out, make sure you do. (Basakaru)