Austin, Texas honky-tonkers the Derailers are having a hard time recovering from the departure of singer and songwriter Tony Villanueva. The band still had the same basic hardscrabble sound on last year’s Soldiers of Love, with Brian Hofeldt stepping in as the singer, but the depth and presence of Villanueva's vocals was sorely missed. The new Under the Influence of Buck (Palo Dura) is better; unfortunately, the Derailers didn’t write a single tune on it. As the title makes clear, it's a straight-up homage to the great Buck Owens, and while the performances are plenty sharp—particularly the pedal steel of Chris Schlotzhauer, who obviously studied the parts Tom Brumley came up with for the Buckaroos—the band doesn't inject a whit of their own personality. Just as disappointing is the song selection. There's no arguing with the genius of classics like “Together Again, “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” or "Love’s Gonna Live Here,” but why bother listening to a bunch of inferior remakes? It’s a shame the Derailers didn’t dig a little deeper into Owens's sizable oeuvre. They play FitzGerald’s tomorrow night.
Various Artists, Improtest (MKDK)—Estonian improvised music
Loren Mazzacane Connors, Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Improvisations, Vol. 1-9, 1979-1980 (Ecstatic Yod)
Redman, Red Gone Wild (Def Jam)
Clara Moreno, Meu Samba Torto (Far Out)
Extra Golden, Hera Ma Nono (Thrill Jockey)