Davin James

Magnolia

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Davin James possesses a deep, rich voice that is pitched somewhere between John Hammond, Jr.'s blues pipes and Waylon Jennings' outlaw country vocals, and he uses it to evocative effect on this release. He's also a formidable guitar talent. Magnolia's roving muse swings through Gulf Coast blues stylings, straight-up country, and country-rock. The album starts with the ringing guitar leads of "I Thought, She'd Think," which is a melodic slab of upbeat country-rock. The title track, meanwhile, is dusty country blues, while "The One That Got Away" hunkers down into heart-rending traditional country. "N'Awlins Night" has to be James' pièce de résistance, however, with his jazzy crooning and nimble fingerpicking sounding as aged and colorful as the city to which he's paying tribute. In a genre populated with too many "all hat and no country" talents, this Texas artist proves on Magnolia that he's in a league with such fellow "real deals" as Dallas Wayne and Redd Volkaert.

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