has a classic honky tonk jones as big as Fort Worth. Across a four album span, it's hard to tell Hooker's own songs from covers ofRay Price
Dressed in retro tonk style, this fiddle-and-steel ensem ble flawlessly nails boot-scoot sawdust floor numbers like"Green Snakes on the Ceiling," "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down,"
and even Mel Street's"Borrowed Angel"
as crowds of dancers polish their belt buckles in the traditional Texas way. Unusual for a lead singer, Hooker fronts his band from behind a standup bass, but this is no impediment to a guy who seems perfectly in tune with most of thepre-Countrypolitan
music that exploded out of Texas in the post-Bob Wills era. With veteran players like fiddler Anthony Wilson (Johnny Rodriguez, Fiddlin' Frenchie Burke
) and steel guitarist Dickie Overbey (
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Hooker is about as authentic as honky tonk gets in this age of Tim McGraws and Kenny Chesneys. --William Michael Smith
Jake Hooker performs Friday, February 16 at Blanco's Bar & Grill, 2406 West Alabama, 713-439-0072.