Red River Dreams” is the latest CD release of Michael Hearne, one of the originators of the ’Southwestern Americana’ sound that seems to float over his 2 homelands of the hill country of Texas and the mountains of northern New Mexico.
His instantly recognizable ’whiskey velvet voice’, as friend Eliza Gilkyson describes it, combined with his impeccable musical instincts, inspired songwriting and instrumental virtuosity form as complete a musical assemblage as you will find in any country, folk or americana artist today.
Hearne has one of the most devoted followings of any musician still practicing his craft, touring around Texas, NM, and the great American southwest, and “Red River Dreams” embodies many of the reasons why.
The title cut speaks of Hearne’s time spent in Red River, NM, in the 1970’s, which seemed to be ’Austin North’, serving as a getaway and mountain retreat for several of the artists involved in the early Austin scene, such as Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bob Livingston. “Blue Enough” is a beautiful lament co-written with Jed Zimmerman, another fine songwriter in the folk americana vein, featuring Kelley Mickwee, a rising star in the current Austin music scene on harmonies.
“June 25, 2009” ponders the life and legacy of Michael Jackson. “The Highway Is a Friend of Mine”, co-written with Michael’s longtime friend and frequent musical partner Shake Russell, is a great picking song and classic traveling troubadour tune. “Back in the Day”, another Hearne-Russell co-write, is a journey through the influences and experiences of Hearne’s Texas upbringing.
Although we feel that some of the tracks are standouts for radio, we truly feel there isn’t a song to miss in this collection, including Michael’s selections of other writers’ songs, such as the John Ims tune “Magic”, Chuck Pyle’s gem “Endless Sky”, and his impeccable treatments of the classic Lightfoot and Parsons tunes.