Things They Don’t Teach You in School

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Crossing over from one art form to another is a challenge for any artistic soul, especially considering the criticism often hurled at actors who decide to pursue musical careers. CSI co-star Robert Hall is a competent and pleasingly weathered-sounding vocalist, and on this classy collection he blends warm Willie Nelson-esque ballads with lush blues. Robert is surprisingly bold as a songwriter; he all but derides formal education while capturing today’s economic realities with the lines You’ll look so cool in your cap and gown / While you’re waiting in the welfare line on “Things They Don’t Teach You in School,” boosted by a spicy harmonica solo. The jazzy vocal on “(Keep On) Pushing Through” is punctuated by more harmonica riffs and groovy background vocals. He brings a Latino-Western flavor to “One Door Closes,” then pays tribute to a true country pioneer on “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight.” A pleasant mix of restrained and charming tunes.

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