Artist: Dave Insley
Album: Just The Way That I Am
Release Date: 04/26/ 2016
The title to Dave Insley’s previous album, West Texas Wine, could be the perfect description of his singing voice. Rich notes highlight a warm breeze of a high baritone. Insley sings country music like a good Texan should, inhabiting the stylistic realm shared by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, and Asleep at the Wheel, among others.
The eight year wait for his new Just The Way That I Am is quickly justified by Insley’s great new songs, starting with “Drinkin’ Wine and Staring at the Phone.” Despite the inherent sadness in the tune, the brass-pumped swinging in it conjures up a saloon somewhere on the road from Texas to New Orleans that you immediately have a hankering to be bellied up to the bar at. “I Don’t Know How This Story Ends” then canters across the plains with the purpose of disappearing. The players assembled obviously live and thrive in these wide-open spaces. The way they take off in “Call Me if You Ever Change Your Mind” reminds me of the amazing, under-appreciated Marshall Tucker Band at their most countrified, particularly in the sparkling lines flowing from the fingers of the great guitarist, Redd Volkaert. “Win-Win Situation” features Kelly Willis in both duet and in harmony with Insley, with Elizabeth McQueen adding yet more beautiful elegance to the touching ballad. Elsewhere, the supreme singers Rosie Flores and Dale Watson add their particular Texas country accents to the proceedings. “Arizona Territory, 1904” self-describes, as does the title song.
The man can certainly illustrate images and emotion. His expression of love for his wife and family in “We’re All Together Because of You” really makes you take stock, be thankful, and be joyful. We’d all be better off focusing more on all that, and Dave Insley provides the ideal old American soundtrack for the undertaking.