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Roger Jameson: Press

It's a little known fact that Albuquerque has a thriving singer/songwriting scene.

It's also a little known fact that Roger Jameson is one of the most consistent singer/songwriters in town.

That he hasn't gotten more recognition for that is a shame, but his latest, The Great Compromise (Red Rebel Records), may finally change that.

Part of the reason Jameson may not get what is due to him is that he has the audacity to sing about love, heartbreak and relationships. How much more 20th Century can you get? No one sings about love anymore.

I guess Jameson didn't get the e-mail or the memo that declared love songs taboo.

Not that he'd care much, mind you. He is a hopeless romantic with the slippery pen of a poet and the honor of a troubadour. He doesn't just wear his heart on his sleeve - he holds it aloft for everyone to see.

These days, so many songwriters pretend to do that, that when we see the real thing we tend to flinch - Jameson makes that flinch worthwhile.

Like some of the best Texas songwriters, guys like Townes Van Zant, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Robert Earl Keen, Jameson has a knack for transferring desire into a tangible sound.

He's always been good at it, but he seems to be really finding his groove on The Great Compromise. His Spartan songwriting is nearly Nashvillian in the old sense. Songs like "Temporary Picture," "Whiskey in a Tin Cup" and the album's title track are well-crafted panoramic slices of life. Unlike many songwriters both in Albuquerque and elsewhere, Jameson realizes that he must be a storyteller and that his songs can be more than catchphrase choruses adorned with verses that show you a lot, but don't tell a damn thing.

If Jameson has a problem, it's that he hasn't fully committed to the alt-country sound that compliments his music so much. There's still a bit of a rocker in him and unlike singers like Ryan Adams, he hasn't resolved the urge to rock. Sometimes it works, like on "Running in the Wild," a song that will make your hands ache to hold a steering wheel and make your legs yearn for summertime.

Because of that, there are moments in The Great Compromise that seem unfulfilled almost as though Jameson were holding back at the wrong time or allowing his band to step too firmly on the gas pedal.

Fortunately for Jameson, and for us, the songs themselves stand on their own and shimmer through.

The Great Compromise is a solid effort. This ten-song collection is the perfect thing for a wistful road trip or the panacea for the hopeless romantic in us all.
Kenn Rodriguez - UNM Lobo