Austin may be a metropolis, but it’s still smack dab in the middle of Texas, football fanaticism, Western legends, vast landscapes, and all. There are a lot of artists who embody that Lone Star aesthetic, but today we’re tippin’ our hat to Scott Ballew.
After his initial acts as football star and filmmaker, this central Texas troubadour is now living middle age to the fullest as a songwriter. Scott’s quick to point to his documentary work with Terry Allen as a pivotal moment in his career, and sure, you can see similarities in just comparing album covers , like the cresting scenery of their respective debuts Juarez vs. Talking to Mountains or the minimalist interiors of Lubbock (On Everything) vs. Middle Age Crazy. But that said, there’s something especially cinematic-minded about his cosmic Americana compositions that he couldn’t have simply copped from Allen’s outlaw country repertoire.
And that Western aesthetic really comes to a head on Scott Ballew’s third LP, Rio Bravo, out March 29th. Down to its already iconic title (Cat Ballou would’ve been too on the nose, right?) Rio Bravo is shaping up to be a ten-scene saga of survival, less in the realm of gunfighter ballads and more so contemporary confessions, like if Ennio Morricone brought his timeless Spaghetti Western magic to a newly-unearthed Townes Van Zandt album. Ballew started saddling up for Rio Bravo last month with “Suicide Squeeze” and galloped further today with “Mutiny”. Safe to say we’ll spend this next month patiently awaiting the rest of the stragglers, whose full posse of songs could’ve only been made in Texas, plain and simple.