Various Artists

Why can't all country be this good? This small Nashville-based label has collected 12 relatively obscure Texas artists who turn in excellent acoustic performances highlighting the things that made rural music great in the first place. No crossover potential, no ignorant fake patriotism, no spotlights or dance routines, just honest words and music by people who have lived what they sing about. When Terri Hendrix shouts, "Come on mouth breathers, get a life!" on the hilarious "Clicker," she's delivering a critique as much about herself as the couch potatoes among us. Elsewhere, recognizable names such as Ed Burleson, Tommy Alverson and Deryl Dodd ditch their Garth Brooks envy just long enough to produce some of the most sincere music of their suspect careers. Better yet is Houston Marchman, whose "Dark Black Irish Eyes" is possibly the best roots song in half a decade. If this is truly representative of what's going down in local country circles these days, the ghost of Hank Sr. is most certainly pleased.

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