Collin Herring, Cordelane, Doug Burr

When a rock star blames his dad for something, it's usually pretty bad. You know, scarring-horror-that-created-the-dark-place-in-my-heart-from-which-oozes-the-anger-and-hurt-that-fuel-my-songwriting-and-need-for-attention bad. On Friday at the Double Wide, though, Fort Worth's Collin Herring only blamed his father for forgetting the merch table's CDs. The elder Herring, Ben Roi, certainly couldn't be faulted for his mesmerizing pedal steel during Collin's set, as he picked out gentle licks that voiced the anger, regret and heartache of his son's lyrics. It's a wonder Pops could bear to listen as Collin sang, "My eyes are sinking and they're tired and red / I drink so I can go to bed / I need a new soul."

The crowd was smaller than it should have been for the acclaimed Cowtown songwriter and the excellent opening acts. Between songs, Cordelane lead singer Taylor Reed pointed out the half moon of empty floor in front of the stage and speculated that the band must've had some kind of force field. That certainly wasn't the case--the Denton band plays folky, poppy songs with angelic vocals that are anything but repellent. But the intimacy wound up being appropriate for Collin's soul-baring songs (most of the set list was derived from 2004's heart-wrenching The Other Kind of Kindness). He and his versatile band hushed the audience, small as it was, with slow, hypnotic songs like "Lazy Wind," in which Jeremy Hull urged violin squeals out of a stand-up bass with a bow. Fortunately, that hush wasn't permanent, as the set benefitted from rocking songs that were comparable to Whiskeytown and Steve Earle. The band also knew that less can be more, and they faded out to let father and son sing the last chorus a capella to close the concert: "Throwing punches at the night air, throwing punches at the night air."

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Jesse Hughey
Contact: Jesse Hughey