Steve Bedunah is a Texas singer/songwriter in the Guy Clark/Townes Van Zandt tradition, telling tales set in a rural Southwestern American landscape among ranchers and other common folk. On his debut album, Hand Me Down Land, he makes clear that this environment is a desperate one, at least for the characters he describes and inhabits, sometimes singing in their voices. These are people unable to hold onto their land and unwilling to leave it, condemned by fate and their own lack of understanding of their circumstances. They have a variety of troubles, some more trying than others. The character complaining about the antisocial behavior of his next-door neighbors in "Love Thy Neighbor" suffers only mild irritation in comparison to Bill, the disabled father of a crippled child and husband of a wife who waits tables and turns tricks to pay the family's bills and buy his whiskey. But all of these people have the same reaction, that things are getting out of their hands, and that they only have alcoholism and gun violence to alleviate the situation. Bedunah sings his songs in a gruff monotone over country-rock arrangements, and the relative similarity of the music and performance from song to song mirrors the similarity of the stories. Really, it's all just one long song about hopelessly unfortunate people with no way out.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann