The McKay Brothers

It's always a good sign when guys who use "brothers" in their name are actually brothers. Noel and Hollis McKay are fifth-generation Texans who revel in the best things the state has to offer: food, a frosty beverage and an honest twang. Their impressive sophomore effort, Cold Beer and Hot Tamales, was produced by Lloyd Maines and features a couple of bilingual efforts that understand the emotions and history behind a song such as Butch Hancock's "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me." Never straying too far from their iconic influences (Willie, Guy Clark and Robert Earle Keen), The McKay Brothers are still capable of producing songs of heartfelt reflection ("Warmer Place to Sleep") as well as an apolitical protest number about the surburbanization of the Hill Country (the poignant "Disappearing Texas"). Noel and Hollis make music that celebrates Texas without succumbing to dimwitted clichés or pandering to the lowest hayseed denominator like so many slick, Nashville hustlers who erroneously claim a link to authentic country music.