Houston Calling

Review: John Evans Band, Ramblin’ Boy

March 1st, 2006 · 4 Comments

John Evans Band
Ramblin’ Boy
Crystal Clear Distribution

Just about the worst thing musicians can do is become complacent, rely on the grace of long-time fans, and never progress or push the boundaries of their craft. Thankfully, John Evans continually continues to explore his talents, and his latest album finds the musician turning inward, branching out from his countrified roots, and further testing the waters of rock and pop.

Just as Evans transformed himself on 2005’s Circling The Drain — not exactly turning his back on his rockabilly roots but not riding their coattails either — his new album is a departure from his earlier work. The rock’n’roll base is still there, with hints of early punk, but Evans’ music takes on an even heavier rock edge on “Understanding Jane” and “Long Way Home,” both of which will undoubtedly ensure Evans another slew of Houston Press Music Awards nominations (past nods include Best Musician, Best Songwriter, and multiple nods for Best Male Vocalist and Local Musician of the Year). His fierce guitar solos prove that Evans deserves the praise, and both songs rank among his best work.

Other songs, like the love-gone-wrong ballad “Everything’s OK” (“I’m standing at the edge of losing you,” he sings) could propel the singer into the mainstream. Again, his impressive guitars turn what could be an excellent ballad into a stellar performance. But Evans doesn’t completely ignore his past — fuzzed-out and often wailing guitars mesh with acoustic tinges on “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” a song more in line with Evans’ honky tonk days, yet its distorted vocals and sing-song background vocals gives it a unique, modern edge.

Ramblin’ Boy falters a bit on the predictable and familiar “Whiskey Tango,” which at its core is a wannabe 80’s cover (and should probably be left as such). Similarly, “Love Conquers All”‘s ska-meets-rockabilly sounds out of place among the album’s more straight-ahead rock feel. Thankfully, these weaknesses are easily glossed over — at heart, Evans has always been a storyteller and “Girl” and “5 Seconds At A Time” easily redeem Ramblin’ Boy‘s minor shortcomings. On the latter, Evans sings: “Pretty girl behind the bar, smiles all night to hide the scars…they’re everywhere, they stretch for miles, but no one sees them for her smiles / She daydreams five seconds at a time / Just hopin’ she can find a new boy to snap her out of this / To rescue her with just one kiss, to take her to a better place and put a real smile on her face / Somewhere beneath the neon sign she daydreams five seconds at a time.” It’s this simple — yet inventive — songwriting, coupled with Evans’ fierce guitarwork, that makes Ramblin’ Boy stand out among other Houston musicians.

If Evans continues to reinvent himself and his music with each new release, who knows what his imagination will bring us. For now, listeners can feel content to just go along for the ride.

The John Evans Band CD release party for Ramblin’ Boy is this Friday night (3.3.06) at The Meridian with Hell City Kings and The Mighty Orq. Doors 9 p.m. Cover $10.

Visit the John Evans Band website here.

Tags: Music

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Liza // May 1, 2006 at 12:01 am

    John Evans is a NO TALENT HACK! I’m so sick of reading idiotic posts like this. Ronnie Walker is the guy who should be winning all these awards. He taught John to play guitar and sing. They were in a band together, Evans Walker. Ronnie wrote all the songs along with his Father, Earl Walker. John has been profiting without paying Ronnie for years. This resulted in a lawsuit which Ronnie Walker won. John Evans is not supposed to use any of Ronnie Walker’s music without written permission. Every time I have been unfortunate enough to catch a John Evans Show, he’s still playing songs written by Ronnie Walker. Those are the only songs that don’t make my ears bleed.

    Ronnie Walker is the “go to guy” in the Houston Music Scene. He’s written songs for Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys, Marie English and countless other bands. I seriously doubt they credited him on their CD liner notes. This is well known in Houston music circles.

    I took the first press photos for Evans Walker and still haven’t been paid! John Evans is a deabeat Dad who dumped his family to play music. His daughter has a skin disease. Then he shacked up with a local reporter. He has a reputation for not paying his bandmembers.

    I’d love to read an article that involved research on the part of the reporter instead of blatant butt kissing.

    Houston Press Awards are fixed by employees who are spouses and relatives of local bands. John Evans is right in the pack with them.

  • 2 Jarle // Jun 14, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Nice to see someone cares, Liza…or is it…Ronnie?

  • 3 Concerned // Jun 15, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Man you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Maybe you are the hack that takes shitty pictures and trying to play your short-comings on someone else. Ronnie Walker may be the go to guy for country and western but John Evans is now a rock artist and finally gaining some ground. How dare you come on here and take someones life and twist it to your suit your sick agenda. God punishes people and the next time (which I’m sure will be real soon) you get some bad kharma just remember how you came on a public message board and slammed innocent people in your insecure ramblings. JOHN EVANS IS A STAR!

  • 4 Ronnie // Jul 31, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Man that is hardcore,I damn sure didn’t write it.John and I have settled our copyright issues and I wish him the best.He was writing and singing before I met him and he’s still doin ok.
    Take it easy John,

Leave a Comment