Dan Insley / Dave Insley

West Texas Wine

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    7
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For non-fans, country music is usually funny when it means to be sincere or not funny when it's supposed to be. One can point to enjoyable exceptions like Kinky Friedman, though even Friedman never gave the impression that he would have been caught dead listening to Conway Twitty (and Friedman would have been an exception in any genre in which he had landed). Dave Insley, on the other hand, leaves the impression that he actually likes country, even when he's trying to be a funny guy. Part of the trick is that Insley knows how to deliver a stone-serious country weeper like Troy Seals and Max Barnes' "Don't Take It Away." And it doesn't hurt that Insley's country-flavored vocals have a nice, conversational quality. If West Texas Wine has a flaw, it may be that the arrangements, while solid, vary too much from song to song. Three of the strongest tracks, in fact, are the last three songs, and they are the most simply adorned. Perhaps the heavy tracks like "Beatin' Ya Down" are closer to current country style, but Insley is at his best with an off-the-cuff song like "Everything's Broken Again" and the funny-melancholy "Exit 93." West Texas Wine would have been a stronger effort with a more consistent style, but Insley's songs, vocals, and humor nonetheless bolster up a solid country outing.

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