|Jim Stringer & The AM Band
In My Hand
On May 11, the Music Room released Jim Stringer and the Austin Music Band’s In My Hand, a crackerjack 12-track example of traditional country music. With Susanna Van Tassel, they’ll perform second on T8’s third night, and based on this disc, it should be quite a show.
For In My Hand, the band’s third CD, Stringer, who wrote all but two of the songs, provides vocals and plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, baritone guitar, six-string bass, tic-tac bass, and other instruments—the poor bastard should apply for combat pay. Ably backing him are the latest recruits in a small army of Texas troubadours constituting the AM Band: pianist T Jarrod
Bonta, pedal-steel players Ricky Davis and Tommy Detamore, drummer Jon Hahn, and bassist Carl
Stringer, a fiftysomething transplant from Kansas, boasts a timeless tenor, unassailable talent as guitarist and bandleader both, and often breathtaking skill as a lyricist. He and the AM Band—rightly characterized by 3rd Coast Music as “the closest thing Austin has to a supergroup”—handle with fluency material reminiscent of the finest western swing, rockabilly, and classic country, romping through Joni Mitchell’s “Raised on Robbery” (a duet with Karen Poston), performing with stately sonority the love song “Dance Like a Child,” gleefully juking on “Pink Tornado.” Finally, beyond all of its other graces, the title track and opener to In My Hand unfolds with all of the lovely implacability of a Greek tragedy, a work deceptively easy in its cadence and dreadfully hard in all other respects. In short, it’s a disc of considerable artistry.
St. Louis Playback, Bryan Hollerbach