Review: Roger Wallace – It’s About Time

The old adage that good things are worth waiting for proves to hold true for those who have been waiting with bated breath  for Roger’s aptly titled August/07 release. In fact, by Roger Wallace’s own admission there’s been a heck of a lot of “wranglin’, fussin’, cussin’, and discussin'” between his previous album, The Lowdown (2001), and his current offering “It’s About Time”.

Roger Wallace has been a mainstay on the Austin music scene since the early 1990’s and throughout that time he’s remained steadfast in creating solid, original honky-tonk that celebrates and yet challenges those who’ve walked the path before him. This album showcases Roger’s vocal and songwriting talents while showcasing the man with a unique, almost three dimensional precision that’s hard to come by via a recorded effort.

Joining Roger in the studio for the album were old friends who also happen to be amongst Austin’s finest: Jim Stringer, Brad Fordham, Kevin Smith, Erik Hokkanen, T. Jarrod Bonta and The Lowells. Songwriting contributions were made by the uncomparable Dallas Wayne, the highly underrated DB Harris and Austin stalwart Jim Stringer, who also co-produced the project. The album has thirteen tracks and everyone of them able to hold its own against the others and together they make one hell of a real country album. Roger’s wry sense of wit comes shining through on the self depreciating “If It Wasn’t For Me” which brings memories back of the intelligent humor of Roger Miller. “Frantic” brings visions of a full dance floor at Ginny’s Little Longhorn and the album’s title track is a honkytonkin gem of a leavin’ song that’s become all but a lost art in today’s songwriting fare.

Roger has a well earned reputation as a straight shooter, a “call it as it” kind of guy and for the most part that has remained untouched but this album also allows us to see another side of him that can only have been brought to the forefront by being in a happy relationship. “Ever-loving Sunday” is an easy, laid back tune (written for his new bride as a birthday gift a couple of years back) and Alone At Last with some killer honkytonk piano along for the ride, both show a bit of his softer side. But don’t worry – his recent marriage hasn’t taken away his independent, rebellious streak altogether and this refreshing look into his softer side is balanced out splendidly by the rest of the eleven tracks.

Easy testament to Roger’s knack of giving his brand of country an intelligence and sharpened edge that’s missing in the mass proliferation of music being made everywhere these days, with no shyness shown towards tackling topics not generally considered politically correct is his off handed Smoke ‘Em If You got ‘Em” which is a hit to Austin’s no smoking bylaw, a topic of which Roger has made his opinion well known via his online blog.

He’s also managed to find the perfect “country radio will never play this” song and unabashedly included it in all its glory as the album’s closing track. Jim Stringer’s chilling epic saga ‘The Confession’ is hauntingly mesmerizing — all 7 minutes and 34 seconds of it. The only song on the album not penned by Roger is a stand out amongst a New York skyline level of winners!

Roger’s fourth album was indeed well worth the wait. A mix of hurtin’, lovin’, killin’, smokin’, cheatin’ honkytonk tales that are bound together by a stellar backline of real country melodies that celebrate the diversity of what country music was, what it should be and with Roger Wallace around, could very well be again.

But if you’re reading this Roger — I’m really not ready to wait another five years for the next one.

Laurie Joulie October 2007

Audio MP3s It’s About Time Everloving Sunday If It Wasn’t For Me

Previous TCB Interviews/Reviews

2002 Part One  2002 Part Two 2007 October

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