South Austin Jug Band, The Gourds, Two High String Band

Though their name conjures up images of half-century-old pickers and grinners crowding a dilapidated front porch, the youthful and lively South Austin Jug Band adds some much needed rock grit to the new-grass sensibilities inherent in acoustic roots music. Sophomore album Dark and Weary World is country-folk with just as much in common with Springsteen's Nebraska as with new-grass stalwarts like Sam Bush or Bela Fleck. Sans percussion, all five members of South Austin Jug Band create a ruckus with fiddles, guitars and mandolins that would do most rock bands proud. Whether it's a ballad (the downtrodden and gorgeous title cut) or a rigorous workout (the rural political incorrectness of "Coon Ass"), these boys pound labels and conventions into the South Texas dirt. This triple bill features enough fretboard fancy and hootenanny (ahem) high jinks to please all but the most sadly cosmopolitan among us.

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