My Own American Dream
Bonnie Blue Music

Although he’s been getting steadily better with each record, Austin’s Jeremy Steding’s third album marks a giant step forward for the former University of Florida student in terms of musical maturity. On his past efforts, most notably 2009’s A Damn Good Ride, he had a habit of flaunting a rebel attitude that could feel forced at times. But with My Own American Dream, he takes a gentler turn for the better. Here, everything just seems to flow with an organic grace that is highly appeal- ing. The fiddle and mandolin-enriched “Love Love Love,” along with the pedal-steel-kissed serenity of the title track, offers more pastoral storytelling than in the past, and “Home in Travis County” is a picturesque, aching ode with appealing acoustic flourishes instead of a clichéd rocker about how great Austin is. The tender “Arkansas Rain” is another gem that proves how effective Steding’s plainspoken, truthful delivery sounds when set against a rustic backdrop. The rootsy approach works just as well when he picks the pace up a little, too, as he does in the barn-dance worthy “Four Hour Gig” and “Oh, Darlin.” Here’s hoping Steding continues down this promising path, because while Texas music really doesn’t need any more wannabe outlaws, this kind of authenticity is al- ways welcome. — KELLY DEARMORE

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