You know you’re listening to a Red Dirt — not a country, or worse, pop-country — album, when a song called “Dresses” hits you in the gut with the lyric “You recklessly abandon me / That’s just the way you are.”
The song opens Edmond resident Stoney LaRue’s second studio full-length, “Velvet,” six years after “The Red Dirt Album.” At times, LaRue and his band (which features CMA favorite Randy Scruggs on guitar) kid themselves with the limited singer’s range, but they really nail the dark, smooth feeling suggested by the title, with soft-rock guitar fills and a mysterious flute lilting in and out.
“Dresses” isn’t really one of those songs, but it works as foreboding introduction to the drama that plays out in “Wiregrass” and “Sharecropper.” The anxiety cast by the intro and lyrics on “Sirens” and “Has Been” seem much truer to LaRue’s expertise.
Eventually, the title track does shine a sense of closure on the album, but only a sense. “You just don’t know how long I can stay,” LaRue sings. When an LP lacks a strong scene and a full vocal range, intuitive lyrics can only do so much.
LaRue plays Friday at Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E. Sheridan. For more information, call 601-6276 or visit wormydog.com. —Matt Carney