The Texas Trio - The Texas Trio



As their name suggests, this trio of singers-musicians-songwriters all hail from the Lone Star state. Guitarist Kyle Park, fiddler-mandolinist Jason Roberts, and pianist John Michael Whitby, are all veterans of the Texas music scene and prove to be a natural fit on this debut album. Combining their effortless vocals with their renowned musical skills, they take the listener on a diverse musical ride that encompasses western swing, cowboy music, honky-tonk, dancehall tunes and even bring occasional jazz, gypsy and bluegrass into the mix. It is a quintessential work of country-infused Americana; additionally, it reveals a group of musicians attuned to musical history and the gifts tradition has to offer. With their shifting leads and harmonies—all three sing lead—this Trio surely knows how to work a song. They have mixed in captivating originals alongside heritage tunes from the likes of Cindy Walker and Red Steagall, transformed into crossroads material. A sound at once accessible and classic, listening to them harmonise and trade off on lead vocal duties is pure magic, as they radiate unabashed joy in singing and playing together. 

Filled with mainly lush, atmospheric country-western tunes that smoothly meld together, they set their stall with the easy-going swing of Concho Valley Drive. Co-penned by Roberts and bassist Albert Quaid, this flows along cheerily, complete with Bob Wills’ aah-aah’s, as the lyrics describes the little things that make a drive across Texas such a delight. An Asleep at the Wheel veteran, who now serves as director of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys and his own Jason Roberts Band, the skilled fiddle player co-wrote Bad Luck Cowboy, South Of Oklahoma and Something To Me with Kyle Park. The latter song is a fond trip through country music’s rich past, as the singer trawls through his daddy’s vinyl collection, effortlessly nailing a kind of distinctly early 1970s ennui, laced with a hazy melancholy, that will have listeners feeling super nostalgic. Bad Luck Cowboy is a modern-day western song about a former rodeo rider forced to move to town … having lost his horses and had a few bad divorces. This down-beat song reminds me of Moe Bandy and would be ideal for George Strait to cover.

They remain in cowboy territory with a neat revival of Red Steagall’s When The Cimarron Was Red And On The Rise. This classic cowboy yarn revolves around the flood of spring 1883 with the yarn of cattle-driver Cody, who risked the rising waters to ride home to Adeline, his pregnant wife. Acoustic guitar picking and haunting fiddle is all that’s needed as this tragic story unfolds. Cindy Walker’s swing tune Miss Molly, has that trademark Bob Wills’ groove, enabling each of the trio to showcase their instrumental skills as the band revives a time capsule of a tune that still feels fresh. Another oldie is Darryl Staedtler’s A Fire I Can’t Put Out. A 1983 chart-topper for George Strait, with whom all three have a close connection, especially pianist Whitby, a member of Strait’s Ace In the Hole band for more than a couple of decades. This emotional break-up song features spare,   

deceptively simple country playing that bears traces of more sophisticated approaches, with tantalising fills that perfectly enhance the plaintive lead vocal. They close this delightful album with the change of pace Jessie Polka, which enables Roberts to showcase his fiddling acumen with a jazzy flair coming into play as this stirring instrumental piece picks up the pace to entice the listener to press that repeat button.

May 2024