Recording information: Gabe Rhodes Studio, Briar Cliff on the Severn, TX (10/2004).
Since making her last album (2003's Losing Faith), Audrey Auld left her native Australia for America, got married, and took on her husband's surname, Mezera. What hasn't changed is her ability to create deeply felt country music. On Texas, she concentrates on songs about people she loves, admires, or has been strongly affected by. There are several odes to musicians she respects: Woody Guthrie, Billy Joe Shaver, the late great Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard, and the popular Australian country group Dead Ringer Band. While these tunes frequently make references to their subjects' work -- "Woody"'s chorus starts "This machine heals wounds/This machine ends wars" -- Auld Mezera does a remarkable job of balancing the biographical material with a poetic lyricism. Similarly, "My Father" (a thank-you tune to her dad), "Love You Like the Earth," and the pointedly titled "Missing Mez" (her love songs to her husband) easily could have been cloying numbers. However, her straightforward, sincere expressions of love make them quite touching tunes. Likewise, the twangy ballad "Hole in My Life" stands out as a truly moving elegy to a dead lover. Death also looms large over "Karla Faye," Auld Mezera's solo cover. The haunting Mary Gauthier-penned tune takes an empathetic look at condemned killer Karla Faye Tucker, who also has been the subject of a play written by country music maverick Steve Earle. Not every song, however, is a letter to a particular person. "Ball and Chain" and "One Eye" are rocking country blues tunes that show off her grittier side, as well as her affection for Hank Williams' music. Auld Mezera's earthy vocals thoroughly convey the sense of loss and love that her songs address. Her husky Australian twang slightly resembles Kasey Chambers, whose dad, Bill, is Auld Mezera's frequently and longtime musical collaborator. Also appearing here are a number of talented Texas musicians -- fiddler/singer Carrie Rodriguez, multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Gabe Rhodes, fiddler Darcie Deaville, and singer Kimmie Rhodes -- which is only appropriate for an album entitled Texas (the state where this disc was recorded). Auld Mezera has fashioned a highly personal album that looks both inward and outward, and in doing so she has succeeded in creating music that is both intimate and universal. ~ Michael Berick
Dirty Linen (p.91) - "Mezera's voice breaks and growls just like the classic singers of old while Chambers' lap steel offers perfect support, as he does on most tracks."
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