Ed Burleson

My Perfect World

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Ed Burleson's earthy country music is melodic and winning enough to please Nashville, but doesn't drip with any of that city's clichés. Burleson's country, here augmented by legends like producer Doug Sahm and pedal steel player Lloyd Maines, is straight-ahead, no-frills honky tonk, and his work shows enough reverence for classic country to ring authentic while avoiding the trap of sheer revivalism. Burleson is a great songwriter and singer, and the opener, "Wide Open Spaces," even shows shades of Texas predecessor Willie Nelson. Several tracks also find Burleson hunkering down into a beer-soaked ballad while avoiding any twangy, dramatic clichés. He can also slip into cruising Bakersfield-tinged honky tonk with nary a wrinkle ("No Closing Time"). This construction worker and former rodeo competitor has made a debut that puts a lot of platinum artists to shame. It's just plain old country music -- not mainstream, not insurgent, not trad -- that's done right. It's no small wonder that the late Doug Sahm picked Burleson as the flagship artist on his label, Tornado.

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