Coincidently, Eleven Hundred Springs’ latest album is – borrowing from the first word in its moniker – its eleventh. This Texas act has been at it now for over twenty years. The members aren’t just Texans; they’re North Texans, which is one reason why the album was released on the regional label, State Fair Records. It’s also about as straight-ahead a country album as they come.
The first song on it that captures your attention is “Fair Weather Friend.” It’s a gentle little tune, filled with easygoing country instrumentation (fiddle, steel guitar). Best of all, its lead vocal takes on a wonderful, Jimmie Dale Gilmore wistfulness. The very next song, “Let’s Move Out To The Country” Is also memorable, but for different reasons. It’s an upbeat celebration of country life, that’s lyrically much more positive than Merle Haggard’s “Big City,” which mines similar lyrical ground. Even a standard road life song, like “Looking Back,” comes out sincere. Everything played here sounds natural.
Eleven Hundred Springs isn’t doing anything new or unusual with these ten songs. It might sound a little revolutionary, though, to those too used to being bombarded by overproduced mainstream country radio songs. “Let Me Be Your Man” is the sort of simple Western swing workout that might have made Bob Wills proud. Thankfully, Eleven Hundred Springs remembers country’s pioneers. You don’t often hear music like Eleven Hundred Springs on the radio these days, but the airwaves would be significantly better if we did. If the contemporary radio sound is leaving you more than a little cold, Eleven Hundred Springs is almost certain to warm your heart.