Mando Saenz : Bucket

Texas native and Tennessee resident Mando Saenz reaches deep into the unconscious to pluck several gems from the roots-based Bucket recording. mando_saenz_bucket.jpg

Produced with subtle nuance by R.S. Field, Bucket opens into the echoing, spacious tones of dark, wayward love on "Wrong Guy." Warning ahead of the game that he will "be right there with a bucket of hate," Saenz’s central characters seem to push away at arm’s length, destined to travel a dimly lit path. "Pocket of Red" is Saenz’s collaboration with Kim Richey, an up-tempo stab at pop-infused country.

Throughout Bucket, key players add deft touches to layer in the warmth of the disc’s sweet, stinging melodies. Shawn McWilliams’ persistent drum patterns lean extravagantly against David Grissom’s linear bass lines. And, Richard Bennett’s string-bending electric guitar solos swirl within the earthy, grounded keyboard landscapes of Tony Crow on the urban ballad, "Pittsburgh."

But, whether it contains the remorseful memories of "A Touch is All" or the Will Kimbrough co-penned and pensive, swaying composition "In the Back of Your Mind," Bucket is Mando Saenz’s show, and he delivers with heart rendering honesty 11 solid tracks to challenge the ears, and move the soul.    

Bucket is out now on Carnival Recording Company.