Tommy Hale

Far From Grace

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Dallas native Tommy Hale shapes his own countrified rock sound on his debut album, Far From Grace. His roots lead him by the nose when it comes to overall soul and style, making for an honest effort. No grand production could have made it better, for Hale sticks with simplicity throughout this merry nine-song set. Although some of the songs are a touch underdeveloped, Far From Grace feels good and sounds good. Vocally, Hale stretches from a looser version of Mick Jagger to a less intimidating Jeff Tweedy, particularly on the twangy "Things Are Going My Way." "Uncle Jim" and "Savior" are more lighthearted and less rollicking, showcasing Hale's underlying sensitivity as a songwriter. But his best moments are when he lets himself go as a musician. The mariachi-tinged "Havana by Midnight" is a song like that; the heartland dressings of acoustic guitars and organs on "Ringmaster" capture Hale's work in progress. Far From Grace is ambitious and solid, definitely one of those albums that's equally earnest and refined at the same time. Hale is onto something here, and it's a great stepping stone to what comes next from this Texan singer/songwriter.

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