This Mexican-born Texas troubadour has a deep, dark secret. Before turning his life to music, he earned—gasp!—an MBA. Luckily, on his third album, the country singer-songwriter never sounds like some stodgy businessman playing cowboy. In fact, he doesn’t really sound like anyone. Saenz sings with mumbled twang—think Tom Petty if he’d landed in Nashville instead of L.A.—and on his best songs (“Break Away Speed,” “Pocket Change,” “Hard Time Tennessee”), he could almost pass for a Heartbreaker, or at least a Wallflower. But the ace fiddle jam “Tall Grass” shows why he’s got to have it both ways: country and rock. Call it diversification, but it’s got nothing to do with business school.


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