Darryl Lee Rush

Live from the River Road Icehouse (Palo Duro Records)

It's been a couple of years since the release of Llano Avenue, local roots rocker Darryl Lee Rush's extraordinary debut, and various snafus have kept this sophomore effort off the shelves until now. Usually live releases just fill time between studio products, but Rush's country charm, as well as his raucous band, are well suited to the lubricated ambience of this ramshackle roadhouse in New Braunfels.

Despite the title, there are two new studio tracks that bookend the live cuts. Both "Lot" and "Shotgun Annie" are prime examples of what makes Rush so likable. Over a simple and swampy backbeat, Rush spins his tales of common folks going through common difficulties. The woman in "Lot" is trying to understand her lot in life and coming up with hard answers.

The live cuts are, not surprisingly, more rambunctious and less sentimental. "Truale" and "Town Too Tough to Die" are a few of the cuts reprised from the debut, while Steve Earle's "Johnny Come Lately" is a nice addition to the set list. All are performed with Rush's uncommon mix of hayseed and insight. Rush's impressive understanding of the ins and outs of the rural existence work just as well in front of a rowdy group of cowboys as they do in the confines of a recording studio.

 
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