Dirt

In the realm of Texas-styled barroom blues-rock, Mark Selby has the makings of a major player.

In the realm of Texas-styled barroom blues-rock, Mark Selby has the makings of a major player. But from the ambition ringing loudly throughout Dirt it's clear that the Oklahoma-born singer/ songwriter/guitarist is shooting for the sky. Yet, he's not going to get there with this set, an album that—despite its many rock-solid performances—will likely prove a stepping stone. Although infused with buckets of soul, these admirably diverse 11 cuts are simply just not compelling enough (lyrically or musically) to turn a great many ears Selby's way. And that by no means makes it a failure. A top-notch guitarist (the solo on "You" is particularly nice) and a singer who recalls John Hiatt, Jakob Dylan, and Lyle Lovett (in his most quiet moments), Selby is a fresh voice for fans of blues/ rock. If that's your thing, check out the sweetly soulful, very Wallflowers-esque "If the World Was Mine" and the smooth "Back Door to My Heart"; but if that's not your thing, this is not for you.—WO