Roger Creager

Surrender

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Review

Another in a long line of Texas honky tonkers, Roger Creager, although he's certainly spent time in Nashville, also stands outside the assembly line aspect of Music City, keeping a home near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, and he spends as much time climbing mountains, surfing, skiing, and exploring as he does touring. His style comes across as a mix of the maverick country songwriting that seems to just blossom in Texas, a gifted multi-instrumentalist (Creager plays piano, trumpet, accordion, guitar, and harmonica) fronting a solid, rocking country bar band, and a natural entertainer who has worked hard at his avocation and thoroughly enjoys it, a kind of cross between the hard country sound of George Strait and the good time vibe of Jimmy Buffett, with maybe a little Robert Earl Keen thrown in for good measure. This newest outing from Creager, recorded in Austin with Austin musicians, is full of strong songs and performances, including the opener, the joyously defiant "Turn It Up"( a homage of sorts to Waylon Jennings), the bubbling, rocking "Crazy Again," the epic and wise "Surrender" (which contains the striking and poignant phrase "learned how to be a man by watching my friends' fathers"), and a stunning cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," which finds Creager turning the song all Texas and bringing out the hymn-like gospel overtones of Marley's iconic classic. The sound of Surrender is definitely Austin, a kind of laid-back Americana that feels refreshing next to the polished, shiny stuff Nashville routinely turns out. This is contemporary Texas country at its best. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi