Satisfied at Last

Satisfaction doesn’t necessarily equal complacency. On this disc’s title track, Joe Ely finds contentedness by pushing forward, living for the moment, feeling his “bandana waving free.” Having toured with everyone from Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (his partners in supergroup the Flatlanders) to the Clash, the veteran Texas country rocker sings with well-earned wisdom and self-assurance. He knows all about the endless highways and beat-up suitcases of which he writes, but the years haven’t left him jaded. There’s a hint of Joe Strummer wanderlust in “The Highway Is My Home,” with its skittering bongos and stabs of guitar, while “Mockingbird Hill” sparkles with south-of-the-border licks. If satisfaction means knowing oneself, Ely titled this one beautifully.

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