By Jonah Covell
A jack-of-all styles Texas country album from a strong and reliable voice
1. River Town
2. Starry Eyes
3. Devil's Tongue
4. Out My Window
5. Motel 6
6. A Lot of It Was
7. Only Game in Town
8. Blood Brothers
9. Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold
10. X Old Flames
11. Wild Bill
12. You Go on Ahead
13. True Believer
Texas Music is in Dallas Burrow’s blood as much as it is his name. Now back with his third full-length album, Blood Brothers, he's picking up where his 2021 Bruce Robison-produced effort left off, coming in with 13 tunes that show off his versatility and some excellent sounds.
Burrows does a lot of things pretty damn well. From the shuffling groove of 'Out My Window' to the confessional slow songs like 'A Lot of it Was' and the anthemic lead single 'Starry Eyes' - which could very well be a late 80’s Springsteen outtake - Blood Brothers is packed with promise.
Leadoff track 'River Town' is a solid encapsulation of his work. At first it seems like your standard checklist-y homage to small town living, filled with references to make-out sessions beneath the bleachers, chasing girls and running from the cops. But the track ends with a grown Burrows returning to the river town of his youth to raise his son, a twist that’s a little bit cheesy but is rendered into something very affecting through his deep breathy vocals and the jubilant beat of Josh Greco’s percussion work.
In ‘Motel Six’, he finds himself putting on the shirt and socks of his country singer persona and gearing up to be alone on the road once again. The jaunty track does a good job combining Burrow’s biography with a singer’s travelog, especially in a funny final verse where he’s simultaneously unable to decide what to order at the Waffle House and whether to have another kid.
The album's name comes from an old story about Burrow's father, Mike. The older Burrow was a pal of Texas legends Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and once upon a nighttime in the 70's, he swore a blood oath with the two songwriters. Burrow doesn’t aim for the poetic despair that Van Zandt lived in and became a legend of, but this album does include recurring themes of faith (especially the rollicking finale ‘True Believers’) and gambling (‘The Only Game in Town’, a Charley Crockett co-write, and ‘Wild Bill’).
A Van Zandt cover, ‘Mr Mudd and Mr Gold’, is the only track he didn’t write himself, his intense reading of Van Zandt’s metaphysical poker game throwing the album’s themes into new focus.
Burrow doesn’t write at the level of Clark or Townes, and Blood Brothers might be a more compelling listen if he had brought the story of his rambling path to faith into sharper relief, but as it stands this is a good jack-of-all styles Texas country album from a strong and reliable voice.
Blood Brothers is out now. For more on Dallas Burrow, see below: