Lee Roy Parnell

Tell the Truth

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Parnell's music is a very Texan mix of multiple popular music forms: bar-band rock, honky tonk country, boogie, blues, soul, and gospel. It's no surprise to find some similar-minded vets with high profiles, like Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Bramlett, and (as songwriting contributor) Dan Penn, among the supporting cast of this record. He's similar, yes, but not as outstanding -- as a songwriter, stylist, or singer -- as any of those figures are at their best. It's serviceable earthy Texas music that's suitable for bars and clubs at both party time on the stompers and closing time on the slow tunes, but kind of middle of the pack as far as it goes. When he trots out the high-energy blues-rock riffs, it wanders closest to clich├ęd ground. For that reason, the blue-eyed soul ballads, like "Breaking Down Slow" (one of the ones that Penn co-wrote and Bramlett sings on), are better, but there are better blue-eyed soul singers around, like Bramlett, to invite the comparison that it lays right on the table for you.

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