Robert Rex Waller Jr. from Los Angeles is no spring chicken.
He has been the lead singer and songwriter with the country rock band, I See Hawks in L.A. . for more than 20 years. Over a long career he has written, recorded, or performed with an impressive range of artists including Lucinda Williams, Carla Olson, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, Justin Townes Earle, Tom Petty, and The Meat Puppets. On top of all this he is a professor at the University of Southern California.
In 2016, he brought this experience to bear on his first solo album of cover songs (Fancy Free) and ‘See The Big Man Cry’ is a kind of belated follow up. Only My Favourite Loneliness is an original composition, a song Waller penned with I See Hawks in L.A.’s bassist Paul Marshall,
The other twelve tracks are respectable and respectful versions of songs from a mix of genres including classic country/soul, bright-eyed sixties pop and strident blue collar rock.
The title track was made famous by Charlie Louvin while The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore and Springsteen’s Tougher Than The Rest are probably the best known of the other songs.
Rank And File’s Amanda Ruth and Steeleye Span’s Let Her Go Down are less familiar but fit in well with the overall mood.
Produced, like his previous solo album, by Carla Olson, this collection of favourites shows that Waller has both an ear for a good tune and an assured way of putting his own Americana stamp on the material.
The overall aim is to celebrate the healing power of music and I’ll drink to that.
Robert Rex Waller Jr’s website