Hayes Carll doesn't have the voice of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the poetry of Townes Van Zandt or the blues of his mentor Ray Wylie Hubbard. But Carll has absorbed what's best about the legends and spiked it with deadly comic timing. He's not a satirist — his ballads echo with country soul — but the wasted rhymes on the great "Drunken Poet's Dream" both puncture the Texas troubadour myth and raise it through the honky-tonk rafters. Even droller is "She Left Me for Jesus," which should be joke, save that it could happen to you. Carll's no fly-by-night Robert Earl Keen wannabe; he's got a deep catalog of songs and the fried and frayed voice to make you believe them.
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