The San Antonio River runs through its namesake, lazily winding, and departing in as docile fashion as it arrived. Not so with San Antonio's Rivertrain. Instead, this dynamic foursome carved a gaping canyon through the Texas music scene, inviting a boot-wearing, bronc-busting mosh pit of country-rock music fans. A diverse disc, Rivertrain's debut, ABANDONED, won them Album Of The Year honors at the 2003 Texas Music Awards. Songwriting and vocal duties were split between Jerry Martin and Sam Sanchez, each of them singing their own compositions. Martin's voice is prime for alternative-country, and he has penned songs which are deep with meaning when they need to be, and unbelievably shallow when that's what is called for. Sanchez has a Roger Creager-esque tone, only better, and it's perfect for rock'n'roll and the tongue-in-cheek deliveries required on "Straight Man's Lament" and the hilarious "The Girl Of My Dreams." Special appearances by Jeff Plankenhorn and Susan Gibson add a great element to the disc. The engines of this train are the wonderfully blended harmonies and the total disregard for the whims of Nashvegas, as Rivertrain remains true to their Texas roots, singing stories of the road, and their applicable taboos. The live cut of "Harley" is a true highlight of the album, and if you have the time or a FF button, there's a hidden track for those of you who are certain you'll never be on the Oprah show, opting for the Springer appearance instead. This is a great disc from a high-energy party-oriented band. It would be hard to have a true Texas music collection without Rivertrain's award-winning ABANDONED.
Now Rivertrain came back with “Better Things,” the first single release from ELEVEN, the band's incredible 2003 release. Jerry Martin and Sam Sanchez have written another dazzling ensemble of tunes aimed at pleasing the masses of Texas music fans. The band scored a bulls-eye with this over-the-top release which is about half rock-laden country songs; the other half being country-flavored rock tunes. There’s no short supply of party favorites like “BBQ and Margaritas” and arguably the best song on the album is “All I Wanted” which is well-written and shows off the band’s diversity. You may have already been a Rivertrain fan, but no self-respecting fan would be caught without a copy of this disc.
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