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Waxed - Record Review from Issue #41 Sept-Oct 2002

Roy Heinrich & The Pickups

Playin' Favorites (3H / Texas Music Round-Up)

Roy Heinrich possesses one of the rarest of musical instruments, a richly melodic baritone voice, and he knows how to use it. The Austin singer turns the vibrato on and off in a moment’s notice, and can also switch to fat, rounded tones. He frames that voice with a straightforward, no-frills band featuring Mickey Coover, whose steel whines high while his guitar rumbles low. The effect is that of a Texas-ized Johnny Cash — not surprisingly, a trembling yet robust version of “I Still Miss Someone” is one of the highlights here.

Heinrich’s original songs, with the exception perhaps of “What Would Jesus Do?” and the nostalgic “Fayette County”, stick to the hard-country verities of drinking and the pleasures and pains men and women visit upon one another. They do so with the clever wordplay of “You Walked Your Walk” and “Take Me Drunk” (“I’m home again”) or the poignancy of “Rebecca and “A Girl from Baltimore”.

Heinrich reveals few influences that aren’t stone country, and no alt-country or Americana self-consciousness. This live-on-the-radio performance is ragged but right; there’s nothing fancy, but it cuts quickly to the bone. It’s the kind of set that keeps the dance floor full and sometimes even makes a bit of a dent in the tip jar, too.

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Originally Featured in Issue #41 Sept-Oct 2002

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