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Down the street a lamp light glows
The only heat through the slow fire and snow
I raise my voice but it rings hallow
I raise my glass every time you called
I raise my glass every time
I own all the albums by Mickey & the Motorcars, an Alternative Texas Country band formed in Stanley, Idaho before they moved to Austin.  Like many music lovers I know, I cop to being a big fan of any band with Braun Brothers in it.

When I look at their body of work, I find Raise My Glass to be unique. It is my new favorite, an awesome collection. This set of tunes is more reflective than their earlier efforts. Several of the songs seem to contemplate (with a certain degree of sadness) the tradeoffs people make in life as they grow older.

A Springsteen kind-of vibe runs through the early stages of the title track, which launches Raise My Glass. Its steady beat, minor key guitars, accordion,  and vocal performance from Braun are bound to move hearts. Is the pain is real?  Braun certainly makes it sound so.  The band has clearly developed more substance to their song-writing and overall musicianship. The material exudes depth: the songs start speaking to the listener on different levels after they are repeatedly played.

That brokenhearted feeling continues on “A Thousand Tears.” They keep it going with “Any Longer Any More.” While the two songs that are side-by-side, they are not as distinctive as they could be. Nonetheless, I like Kris Farrow’s guitar solo on the latter track. And the song "Longer Walk in the Rain" is especially beautiful.

Fans of the Texas/Red Dirt sound really enjoy “Far From You.”  And another guft arises with “Odessa Snow,” which serves up some of that good old hilly roots-country.

Braun’s vocal performance on slow-burning ballad “How Far I’ll Go” is workmanlike, but still hits the spot. However, the song that hits the hardest is “Never Been Out West.” Complete with an innovative drum pattern from stickman Shane Vannerson, the tunes dishes out a bittersweet slice of country and uses pedal steel. Another song represents these musicians at their very best: on the bold and rapid-fire “St. Lucy’s Eyes,” Vannerson’s drums are mixed up front.
 

"This life I lead, it's not for the faint of heart," Micky Braun warns listeners. Rough out there on the road, methinks.
Gary Braun, rhythm guitarist for the Motorcars, takes lead vocals on “Big Casino,” a song he co-wrote with brother and Reckless Kelly frontman Willy Braun. A beefy track, the tune has a muscular Reckless Kelly feel to it. Reckless Kelly is a group of Austin-based roots-rockers known for the integrity of their musical approach. They are steeped in hard-core energy.

Mickey and the Motorcars have released five mainstream albums, including a live set.  Members include: Micky Braun (acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Gary Braun (lead & harmony vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica), Kris Farrow (guitars), Mark McCoy (bass), and Shane Vannerson (drums & percussion).

Micky and Gary Braun are the younger brothers of Willy and Cody Braun of Reckless Kelly. Micky and the Motorcars perform yearly at the Braun brothers Reunion, held in Challis, Idaho.

Now established as one of the best-drawing bands on the lucrative Texas Music circuit,  The Braun family’s musical legacy extends far beyond the Motorcars — formed back in Idaho by Micky, brother Gary (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and childhood friend-bass player Mark McCoy — and Reckless Kelly ... All four brothers played in their father’s western swing band, appearing twice on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.” In the 1940s, their grandparents drove an hour and 15 minutes every day from their home in Twin Falls, Idaho, to their jobs as house piano-organ player and cocktail waitress at a casino in Jackpot, Nev. Even home from the road and an average 215 shows a year, members of Micky and the Motorcars tend to stick together, practicing, brainstorming, writing, hanging out. Braun says, “We’ll wind up calling each other and saying, ‘What are you doing? Let’s hit the town.” There’s plenty of time for that.
I found it to be a valuable addition to my collection, very much worth the price. Solid songwriting about life experiences, more introspective, and a shade more mellow, speaks to my soul.

The instrumental performances, along with Micky's singing, are outstanding. I popped it into my CD player a few weeks ago and it has yet to escape. I highly recommend this album, a solid performance from a great Texas rock-the-roadhouse band.

Braun and the boys have good taste in music and on this latest CD, they those musical skills – guitars, bass and drums – to the test.  Raise My Glass pulsates. The music is another noteworthy offering from a very underrated group of artists.  I'll be checking them out at the New Year's Eve bash at the Knitting Factory concert house in Boise.

You told me once that all it would take
To let the wind carry the weight
Is a chance to rest another heartache
I raise my glass to every mistake
I raise my glass every time
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