If, in the opening song ("The Apartment") of this album, someone asked you to guess where Bill Reveles is from, I doubt you would say southern California. I know I wouldn't. The melody of the opening song is pure midwestern rock in the tradition of John Mellencamp with good, grooving guitar and solid rhythms.
However, a few songs later, he delivers a song that shows Reveles's southern California upbringing. There is a healthy dose of the Bakersfield sound in "Mexicali Stars".
There is some humor in "Hollywood Cowboy" that probably resonates more with anyone that has ever lived in or visited southern California. Reveles sings "I got Botox to buy, crack to sell, and maids to lay." If you've never been to Hollywood (thank your lucky stars), that's probably exactly what a Hollywood cowboy would do. Later on in the song, he sings "I got pills to buy, scripts to sell and wives to trade." Again, that sounds about right.
"I Think Love" is the kind of song you might expect from Lyle Lovett. It may not be a country song, but it's got some pretty decent twang to it, just like Lyle Lovett does.
Reveles has an even voice that is easy on the ears. At times, his vocals remind me of Jackson Browne. That influence doesn't permeate throughout the album ,but it's there. If for no other reason than Reveles never strains his voice. He ranges from pensive ("Two Conversations," "Fist Over Wrist") to rockin' "Was It Something I Said"). And he does it all with relative ease. It's no surprise to me that he won the Best Male Artist at the 2006 Southern California Music Awards. I'd like to see more artists like him around here. Rootsy singer-songwriter fans, this album is for you.