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The passion of Shane Cooley 

The Austin, Texas singer-songwriter is at Gasa Gasa Aug. 14

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Photo by Holly Bronko

Kings Highway, the 2015 album by Texas-via-Virginia singer/songwriter Shane Cooley, shares its name with a Tom Petty song from 1991's Into the Great Wide Open. It's a fitting beginning for listeners just discovering Cooley's musical mien, which measures up to Petty's four-chords-and-a-chorus directness on highlights "Leave This Place" and "Hesitate," but could just as easily be mistaken for John Darnielle's reedy shortwave-radio transmissions with The Mountain Goats ("Please Lead Me On") or Aaron Deer's fractured psych/folk with The Horns of Happiness ("The Shangri-La"). Cooley mostly sounds determined not to be pinned down on this seventh self-release, Rubik's Cubing his way through conventionally pretty guitar-pop ("Texas Sunrise," "King of Love") and barn-burning, truck-stop country ("Deliver," "Don't Care") with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Writing since age 10 and performing since 13, Cooley found his great wide open in Austin, Texas, establishing residency status and cranking out the kind of weathered one-man soliloquies you'd expect from a clearly talented young lifer somehow still putting out his own records. The result is a hard-won kind of grace, made clear on another possible Petty reference, "Wildflower Honey," an old song in new clothes about a 20-something man giving up everything he knows to hit the road in pursuit of an uncertain future. Sounds familiar. Tickets $8.


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