Eleven Hundred Springs

For anyone wondering if Eleven Hundred Springs will ever record a bad album: Maybe, but you'll have to wait until at least the next album. Indeed, the beloved, Matt Hillyer-fronted group's latest record, Eight the Hard Way, is yet another shiny rhinestone gem in their already sparkling catalog.

Sure, Eleven Hundred Springs is a Dallas band playing hardcore country music, but that by no means makes them a one-note, so-called "Texas country" act. Not in the least. The dancing electricity with which "Heartstrings" opens the disc is every bit a component of Bakersfield-style country as Buck Owens' Crystal Palace surely is. No, there isn't a single note of this collection that can be considered a departure for the band, compared to their previous work. But, really, what would such a stylistic maneuver accomplish? Consistent excellence should be lauded every bit as much as successful artistic reinvention often is.

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Kelly Dearmore