These songs take you into a different world with the visual details of a longhorn ranch in If You Say No, or a tornado at Jarrell, or the stages of a journey across North Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi in Friends I Left Behind.   Other times the picture isn’t as clear but the images make oblique reference to things like an earlier era of Austin in If Time Was Made of Doors, or the blues of an incoherent relationship in Could You Love Me. There is also room for comedy in songs like Tacos, The Dumbest Game, and the title song . They manage to laugh at the world while experiencing its capacity to wound. Other songs like Find It, One Step Up and Sometimes the Trains Don’t Roll operate in an emotional or ethical realm that can’t quite be seen or clearly described but definitely exists.  Just as the musical style of each song is different, so is its mental territory, including a celebration of unpredictable possibilities in the soul anthem Book of Love.  As a collection, Live By Your Word offers a very diverse take on the wide musical territory that is known as Americana.

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