Stevie Tombstone

Devils Game

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Compiled from two earlier releases, Second Hand Sin and Acoustica, these selections by singer/songwriter Stevie Tombstone represent a heartfelt slice of Americana. A kindred spirit to Steve Earle or Paul K, if not as rough around the edges, Tombstone's music veers toward a more mainstream sound. His cover songs can be brilliant (as in his version of the Johnny Cash staple "Folsom Prison Blues"), but his original material is almost equally good. The forceful opener, "Devil's Game," and the final song of the cycle, "Christmas on Red River," could easily be found in the Cash songbook. The lyrics are honest, the music is memorable and well-performed, and the whole package is ready for radio play. The stark acoustic production of Second Hand Sin is by Jeff Johnson of Jason & the Scorchers, and it suits the selections beautifully. But, to balance things out, the material performed with a band is equally fine in such songs as the barnstorming "So God Damned Lonesome" and the harmonica-laced "Highways Made to Run." If ultimately not as distinctive as you might expect from a performer named Tombstone, the record is all the better for it. Unaffected and traditional with deep, sincere emotion, Devils Game is a fine collection from a genuine singer/songwriter who deserves a much wider audience than he currently has.

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