Cisco

7740 Valmont St.

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Showing up a full seven years after his debut album, Wishing You Well from the Pink Motel (a rollicking slab of cowpunk Americana produced by Social Distortion's Mike Ness), Cisco's follow-up finds the Bakersfield native working with hometown hero Pete Anderson, who does the same thing for this singer/songwriter that he did for Dwight Yoakam back in the '80s: bypassing both Nashville cliché and the mellow traps of '70s California country-rock to create a traditional honky tonk sound with a rock & roll edge. Cisco's rough-edged voice, at times reminiscent of the outlaw Jerry Jeff Walker, is the perfect conduit for his smart, often rueful lyrics, and the varied musical settings for these ten songs, from the traditional two-step country of the title track to the more rockish, cynical "Lost, Broke or Sold," help the album avoid the sameness of Cisco's debut. The album's pinnacle, however, is the epic closer, "Long Hard Ride," a harrowing lost-love ballad on which Cisco expertly channels early-'70s Neil Young without delving into simple copying.

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