Bill Palmer’s reputation as a music producer and engineer at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe is as solid as his notoriety for telling it like it is. It has already proven to be a great production year for the singer-songwriter/guitarist, who also wields an ax in his wife’s band Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess. How Palmer managed to carve out enough free time to lay down some tracks with his own band is a mystery. But rather than waste precious moments trying to solve it, just go pick up this eight-song treasure trove of alt-rock and Americana. “Tell the Man” displays Palmer’s fondness for lyrical self-reflection and a deep love of Tom Petty’s more low-fi rock tunes. “Gimme Gimme” finds Palmer and Hatfield, who pulls secondary-guitar and harmony-vocal duties on this debut album, crunching down a sexy, fuzz-rich country rocker. The “Crimson and Clover”-sounding “The Illegals” further solidifies Palmer as a strong visual storyteller while exploring the complexities of the ongoing immigration debate. Band mates Matt McClinton (bass) and Mikey Chavez (drums) round out this tight ensemble, which never forces the twangier moments to the point of cliché. It’s an absolute pleasure to listen to a collection of carefully crafted songs penned by someone who knows his way around a guitar and a studio and isn’t afraid to wear his rage, disappointment, redemption, and fear on his sleeve.
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