Kevin Deal Kiss On The Breeze

Deal's latest, a dozen tracks produced by Dixie Chick daddy and long-time Joe Ely sideman Lloyd Maines, is an outstanding, understated LP. The boy has a definite similarity to Steve Earle, but that works for him, not against him. He's clearly not a Earle knockoff, clone or wannabe. The similarity comes in because he works the same territory as Steve: songs about a guy pining for an old flame, or working folks struggling to get through the day without getting ground down. And he also manages to do it in a decidedly unfancy way, blurring the lines between rock and country, putting a bit too much of one in to appeal to fans of the other. In that respect, it'd also be proper to include musical kin like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Ely and the Blasters in the list of like-minded. He pokes a little fun at himself with "My Father's Redneck," a song that wryly acknowledges that he's more like his old man than he ever thought he'd be. He also manages to get a sly, but not nasty, dig in at the baggy ass pants wearing, jeep-beat loving kids of today. There's a Latin feel to the title track and he eulogises Stevie Ray Vaughan with "Day The Blues Cried." Running right up near the front of the pack for the CD's best track is "A Thousand Words," with Terri Hendrix contributing an aching duet vocal. (Blind Nello)