As Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti ventures further into his solo career, it's hard not to notice that he's learned a few lessons in record making from everyone's favorite marijuana-addled country icon, Willie Nelson. Like the Red Headed Stranger, Eddie has eased into a vocal style on his solo albums that communicates genuine commitment to the material without sounding like he's pushing himself too hard, and also like Willie, Eddie knows how to pick material that suits his personality when he doesn't have a full batch of originals on hand. Sundowner, Spaghetti's third solo LP, feels just a bit like one of the umpteen albums Willie Nelson made in the 1980s; it's the work of a guy who happens to love singing and making records, and if the folks involved don't sound like they've been sweating blood over the material, they also clearly had a fine time and their love of the songs and the process of making music is inescapable. Spaghetti doesn't quite take his covers away from the folks who did the songs originally, but he has a real knack for making the tunes bend to the curvature of his personality, whether he's partying in high style on "Party Dolls and Wine," offering some sobering relationship advice on "If You Fall in Love," imagining a grand future for himself on "Cowboy," or making like the King of the Highway on "Girl on the Billboard." Spaghetti's voice sometimes sounds a little roadworn around the edges, but that adds more to these songs than it takes away, and he cuts an easygoing but sure-footed groove with his studio helpmates Metal Marty Chandler on guitar and Scott Churilla on drums. And while Spaghetti's own "Never Thought I Would" is a fine exercise in casual swagger, he really strikes gold on a remake on "Marie," which he originally recorded on 1995's The Sacrilicious Sound of the Supersuckers; while its solemn tone seemed out of place on that album, the more low-key presentation here suits this cautionary tale very well. Willie Nelson has a way of sounding like he casually wandered into the studio and walked out with a good record a few days later, and Sundowner suggests Eddie Spaghetti is picking up on the same trick; it has both fun and casual authority in equal measures, and it would probably sound just as good as The Promiseland or A Horse Called Music over the course of a road trip.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming