Honkytonk and Vine

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Maybe it’s something in the ocean air, but California country has always been light on its feet—there’s an effervescence in the grooves that Bakersfield’s Buck Owens laid down in the 1960s that was still alive when Dwight Yoakam emerged from the Los Angeles scene two decades later. The buoyancy in that music just couldn’t have come from Nashville, prone to mugginess and sadly lacking in beachfront as it is—and the same is true of this third album from Southern California’s David Serby.
Despite its audible West Coast heritage, Honkytonk and Vine mostly deals with universal topics—in particular, the endless pursuit of the opposite sex and the complications therein. Most of the characters in these 13 songs (all penned by David alone) are either heartbroken or headed that way, even if they’ll probably just go out tomorrow night looking for love again. Things never really seem too bleak, mostly thanks to the snap and vigor in guitarist Ed Tree’s production. Honkytonk and Vine gives country fans reason to go west all over again.

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Other performers include Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin and Jason Isbell.