Album Review | Heptown | Review by Liam Wilkinson
With Neon Signs & Little White Lies there’s a palpable sense of arrival. The Detroit-born, Denmark-raised singer songwriter J. Tex has been steadily evolving over the last two decades and, whilst the albums he made with his band The Volunteers each offered a tantalising glimpse of this multifaceted artist, this latest LP is the true masterpiece we’ve been waiting for. Established fans will recall with fondness the playfully retro production of 2009’s Misery and 2012’s House on the Hill, as well as the Tom Waitsian novelties of 2015’s Old Ways vs New Days, but what we get with Neon Signs & Little White Lies is the authentic Tex, stripped bare of experimentation to reveal a bona fide country troubadour.
With songs such as the slithering “Way Down in the Country” and the shimmering “Rocket Ship”, we discover another cowboy poet who wouldn’t look out of place strolling the heartworn highways of Clark, Van Zandt and Earle. Smothered in unadorned lap steel and fiddle, and touched gently with just the right amount of harmony vocals, such songs as “Drummer Boy” and the wonderfully infectious “Real Thing Going On In Tennessee” make this album an instant classic, for sure.