Brandin Reed

The Dallas-Fort Worth area always seems to have an inexhaustible supply of country and alt-country singer/songwriters. Some, like the vastly overrated Pat Green, find their niche hamming it up with the frat-boy crowd and singing about every cliché in the book. Others, like Dallas' Brandin Reed, stick with sincerity and introspection and hope to eke out a career.

Live at Roots is Reed's debut EP, a five-song example of the guy's commitment to quality songwriting and sturdy vocal and guitar chops. Some may focus on the fact that Reed also happens to be a minister, but there are no overtly religious overtones to songs such as "Breeze" and "Float." Quite often, music that's labeled as Christian or spiritual is often pulverized by its own message.

Thankfully, such is not the case with Reed. Sounding like a combination of Chris Isaak and Ryan Adams (at his most friendly), the songs on Live at Roots are hopeful expressions of making it through a single day or moment. They are simple, heartfelt and don't need slogans or dogma. Granted, Reed is not a native Texan, but if his upcoming full-length is half as good as this EP, I'll overlook that shortcoming.

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