Terry Evans

Fire in the Feeling

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After marking time with a live release, Terry Evans returns after four years with a studio collection that, while it doesn't explore new territory, revels in the gospel-laced rocking R&B that has always been his forte. Old friend Ry Cooder sits this one out again (he does contribute a terrific if slightly off-kilter love song in "My Baby Joined the Army"), but his influence is never far from the proceedings when Mark Shark, Joe Colombo, or especially ex-Cooder cohort David Lindley picks up a slide guitar. Evans plays some rhythm guitar and penned or co-wrote six of these 11 songs, including the stirring "Walkin' Chains," the album's longest and most intense piece. Here the swamp, religious, blues, R&B, and folk strains that appear throughout the disc collide in an explosive, moving ballad that builds to a shattering climax with Colombo's Cooder-ish guitar wailing away. There's plenty of party music, too, with the self-explanatory double entendre "I Got a Pony (She Likes to Ride)," the funky "Let's Get Gone," and the jaunty "Nothing Wrong with Texas (That Leaving Won't Fix)." Evans balances these upbeat tunes with slower, more pensive and brooding material, making for a varied and eclectic outing. The singer is in typically fine voice, shifting from an angelic falsetto to a lowdown growl in seconds. When he spars with legendary trombonist George Bohannon, who sizzles on the jazz-funk groove of "Discover Me," the sparks really fly. This is as good as anything Terry Evans has done, and those unfamiliar with his brand of rootsy R&B can start here. Established fans will feel right at home with this typically tough and tender release from an unfortunately underappreciated artist who is keeping roots R&B and soul music alive, one album at a time.

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