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Music Review: The Lucky Tomblin Band – Honky Tonk Merry Go Round

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The Lucky Tomblin Band is one of those little engines that can and does from deep in the heart of Texas.

They are a band that would be comfortable in any number of smoky honky tonks that inhabit the Southwest. Whether it’s dancing, listening, or eating ribs until you explode, this is an album for you.

Lucky Tomblin has become an institution in his native Texas and the surrounding area. He began his career at The Grand Ole Opry Show in San Antonio with Roger Miller, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Ray Price. During the 80’s, he established his own recording studio and produced such artists as Joe Ely, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Texas Tornados, and Omar and The Howlers. At the urging of his close friend Doug Sahm, he returned to the stage and formed his own band. Honky Tonk Merry Go Round is The Lucky Tomblin Band’s fourth release since 2003.

He has assembled a first-rate band to support himself. Pianist Earl Poole Ball toured with Johnny Cash for two decades. Settling in Austin, he continues to perform solo as well as be a member of The Lucky Tomblin Band. Also included are former Merle Haggard guitarist Redd Volkaert, bassist/songwriter Sarah Brown, second guitarist John Reed, rhythm guitarist Bobby Arnold, and drummer Jon Hahn.

They are a pure dancehall country band, and the album’s 14 tracks reflect that fact. Mel Tillis’s “Wine,” Willie Nelson’s “I’d Rather You Didn’t Love Me,” Bill Anderson’s “I’ll Go Down Swinging,” and the Floyd Tillman/Jimmy Davis tune “It Makes No Difference Now” all succumb to their dancehall style.

The band members also contributed a number of original compositions. Redd Volkaert’s “She Loves Anything That Swings,” Sarah Brown’s “Open Up Your Heart And Let Me Go,” Earl Poole Bell’s “The Train Always Runs On Time,” and the Sarah Brown/Lucky Tomblin tune “The Other Side Of The Blues” all prove that local country music is alive and well in the Lone Star State.

Honky Tonk Merry Go Round features tight playing and fine harmonies. If you can’t get to a Texas honky tonk in the near future, this album and The Lucky Tomblin Band are the next best things to being there.

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