A year and a half ago, this EP wasn't possible. Tweed was ambitious, sure, but something was amiss and obviously so. Their songs, falling unencumbered into that wide world of Americana, were simple and fun, but Tweed was just another good bar band, known around these parts for their completely humble self-promotion and drummer (and Dallas Observer layout editor) Mike Simmons' predilection for catastrophic accidents, like blowing up historic gas stations and other enthralling anecdotes. Now, with this five-song album, Tweed has matured into a group with confidence and melodic power.

Tracks like "Easy This Way" and "Waiting" invoke the spirit of Charlie Sexton (circa the Sextet) and a young Steve Earle (as winsome as he was pre-prison but just as tortured as he was after). John Garrett and Jon Wallace are responsible for the Sexton guitar comparison, but Garrett employs his scratchy and romantic vocal strategies as well. At times ("Easy This Way") Garrett's lack of enunciation is a little reminiscent of Jamie Walters, but it's forgivable when placed in the confines, if you can call them that, of rightly aimed harmonies and drum and bass lines that are in close-to-flawless agreement. Tweed's songs manage to have gravity ("Choke Your Heart," with its organ lines and downtrodden lyrics) while maintaining the ease of their live shows.

Credit indeed goes to Derek Taylor, who mixed and mastered the album and has previously worked with the likes of Burden Brothers, Space Cadet, South FM and others. Simmons unabashedly credits him for bringing their recordings into the arena they aimed for, one that's accessible to the unfamiliar listener and rewarding for the fan. It's almost shocking that these laid-back fellas could transform themselves into this band, one that could make Big D awful proud one day. As a get-to-know-us venture, this EP is the perfect tease.


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