The Dallas-Fort Worth area always seems to have an inexhaustible supply of country and alt-country singer/songwriters. Some, like the vastly overrated Pat Green, find their niche hamming it up with the frat-boy crowd and singing about every cliché in the book. Others, like Dallas' Brandin Reed, stick with sincerity and introspection and hope to eke out a career.
Live at Roots is Reed's debut EP, a five-song example of the guy's commitment to quality songwriting and sturdy vocal and guitar chops. Some may focus on the fact that Reed also happens to be a minister, but there are no overtly religious overtones to songs such as "Breeze" and "Float." Quite often, music that's labeled as Christian or spiritual is often pulverized by its own message.
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Thankfully, such is not the case with Reed. Sounding like a combination of Chris Isaak and Ryan Adams (at his most friendly), the songs on Live at Roots are hopeful expressions of making it through a single day or moment. They are simple, heartfelt and don't need slogans or dogma. Granted, Reed is not a native Texan, but if his upcoming full-length is half as good as this EP, I'll overlook that shortcoming.