Joe Ely, like fellow Texans Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, and Townes Van Zandt, is pure originality. An artist whom other artist seek to emulate, he never disappoints. With this release, Ely continues his wild ride into the heart and soul of a man and the landscape he inhabits. Effective as a songwriter and performer, Joe Ely became more potent with each passing year. His diversity buoys him up as he works his way through both the dark and the light. The title cut, "Up on the Ridge," and "You're Workin' for the Man" display his ability to cast a deep shadow upon life's more rugged passages. "Sister Soak the Beans" and "If I Could Teach My Chihuahua to Sing" are light and humorous, reflective of Ely's geography, Texas, and create a balance that too few artists ever find. With "Gulf Coast Blues" and a wonderful honky tonk concerto, "I Will Lose My Life," Ely proves to be a master painter who creates his songs from a vast palette of colors, textures, and experiences.
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AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon