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Current Issue: Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Listen Up: Wednesday, March 31, 2005
Jasper James and the Cowtown Boners

Counter-Clockwise (self-released)

By Jeff Prince

Damned if Texas Music didn’t have another branch. Well, OK, not a branch but a tiny little sprout from a hidden root tucked away somewhere amid the snail-trailed compost of country, folk, and rock, so deep that strains of Pink Floyd, Icky Twerp, Oliver Stone, and Harry Chapin all blend together to form a musically mongrel tree. Independent recordings don’t get much better than this -- adventurous, engaging, poetic, and subtly avant garde. Local picker "Jasper" James Michael Taylor’s newest disc is a straw-chewing journey from innocence to jaded maturity, something akin to a stripped-down roots version of The Wall. Taylor is a local songwriter who picks and sings around town at places such as MacHenry’s and records c.d.’s on a home computer.


More information: Counter-Clockwise starts with a surprise, a remake of the Everly Brothers’ "Problems," a maudlin tale of girl trouble, mean parents, and bad grades. Seems like a strange choice for an old hippie like Taylor, who spent time in prison for refusing to fight in Vietnam. But it’s a set-up to a story about bigger problems in the world and Taylor’s take on them. What follows is a string of original songs done in varying genres, serving as a stream-of-consciousness flight. Anyone who appreciates theater of the mind will have a hoot with this. There’s love, of course, both the good and bad kinds. And there are horny toads, spookiness, brass quartets, 9/11 thoughts, environmentalism, dramatic narratives, and the overall sense of feeling small in a vast universe. Astounding is the anti-war segment "Choices" done with the help of movie dialogue from Barbara Sonneborn’s Academy Award-nominated Regret to Inform. Taylor calls his little studio in his near East Side home’s basement The Good Oops Studio of Fort Worth. Mistakes in the studio, like those in life, sometimes turn out OK, even better than what was originally planned -- a good oops, so to speak. For more information, go to www.txh2o.com/jmt/home.htm. — Jeff Prince


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