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Cosmic Dust Devils
©2005 Heritage Records
Review by Lucky Boyd

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The Dust Devils have developed their own brand of music. Call it dusty or call it devilish, and you'll be right on both counts. Through the evolution shaping the Dust Devils in recent years, Kevin Higgins has emerged as a driving force behind a distinctive sound. Higgins’ songwriting never ceases to be stellar, spinning yarns about Texas life with clever innuendo and an occasional matter-of-fact glare at the obvious. Coupled with Barbara Malteze, Higgins delivers flawlessly with a subtle laid-back style that has real kick. This ‘velvet-rock’ release has a southern rock feel as Higgins and Malteze garner a sound reminiscent of The Outlaws and Blackhawk. (both Henry Paul bands, by the way). Higgins’ writing holds up next to Paul’s but the Dust Devils delivery is purely Texan with solid roots that run as deep as the Edwards Aquifer. If there’s a Janis Joplin incarnate, it’s Barbara Malteze. This California-girl-turned-Texan belts out a song with purpose and design. “Friends” is arguably the best track, as Malteze turns in a mesmerizing performance that feeds the very soul of every Texan. An amazing lineup of pickers is assembled for “GATHERING DUST,” without a doubt the Dust Devils’ best work to date. “Walk On” is worth the price of the entire disc. Nashville ingenuity meets Texas musical muscle and the result is an award-worthy release. Way to go, Kev and Barb! The 'greatest hits' release (under the former Cosmic Dust Devils name) "SIXER" includes the never-before-released "Rain Or Moonshine" which is popular with Texas radio stations. You can also get their self-titled release (Little Train Records) and hear for yourself this talented band of Texans. With headquarters in Marble Falls, this partnership of Kevin Higgins and Barbara Malteze roams the state dishing out a brash mixture of country and rock. Whether it's a nostalgic honky-tonk sound, or a 21st Century outlaw sound, you'll hear true Texas roots in every beat. Listen carefully and you'll hear influences from Buck Owens to Janis Joplin, from Waylon Jennings to Ann Wilson (the one from Heart, not the other one). If you like a party in a box, stuff a Dust Devil in your changer and press play!

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