Gary P. Nunn is a legend in Texas, one of the state's great singers and songwriters and a member of the Texas Hall of Fame. He's one of the founders of the so-called outlaw movement, the anti-Nashville gang that shunned studio gloss in favor of a more rough and ragged sound. Nunn's still going strong and putting out albums that showcase the diversity of the Texas country music scene. He might be better known if he toured more outside of Texas, but his albums tell you all you need to know about the man and his music. This set kicks off with Steve Kundert's traditional drinkin' song "Déjà Vu." Nunn's deadpan vocal is supported by producer Tommy Detamore's pedal steel and Derek Groves' twang-heavy lead guitar. Songwriter Levi Mullen contributes "Down to Louisiana," a Cajun jump-up with Groves and fiddler Bobby Flores shooting off instrumental sparks to complement Nunn's jubilant vocal. Mullen's "A Two-Step Away" is a lighthearted honky tonk dance tune with a stomping beat and some nice Bob Wills-style fiddle by Flores. Nunn contributes four new tunes to his considerable catalog of hits: "Taking Texas to the Country" sets the history of Texas music to a driving blues-rock beat with Groves tossing off crunchy chords and bluesy bent-note runs as Nunn celebrates Willie, Wills, and other legends; "It's Not Love" is a reggae-flavored tune that borrows a few lines from Merle Haggard's "It's Not Love But It's Not Bad"; "Lonesome Lone Star Blues" is the tale of an underemployed worker wandering the state trying to find a place to call his own; and "The Rest of My Life" is a slow swing blues delivered in Nunn's growling hopeless lower register. It's the kind of hopeless, aching love song you'll never hear coming out of Nashville, and brings the album to an emotional climax.
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AllMusic Review by j. poet