Uncle Tupelo made explicit how the roots of punk and hard-core honky-tonk intermingled: the rejection (often drunken) of instrumental competence, the politics of desire and its immediate and sometimes disastrous effects. Whether it has been cowpunk in the '80s or alt-country the following decade, these two seemingly disparate genres have merged to consistently produce music of quality and distinction. San Antonio's Two Tons of Steel continues this confident fusion of hayseed and half-ass. One listen to their hillbilly take on "I Wanna Be Sedated" on their fine, recent effort Vegas makes obvious that it really isn't all that far from two-stepping to stage diving. Although still a little too retro fashion-conscious for their own good, Two Tons of Steel straddle the unprofitable but artistically potent line that Gram Parsons thankfully walked over three decades ago.