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Thriftstore Cowboys

Well, of course country music is bound to spring up in Lubbock. The town enjoys three factors that make it so: a legacy of music, a desolate Western environment and the desparation of sheer boredom, all three of which imbue the population with a latent impulse to create music by which to scoot boots and kick shit. No surprise there.

What comes as a surprise, however, is when the land that breeds tumbleweeds, cotton and redneck Red Raiders also sprouts a band of rare cerebral depth combined with salt-of-the-earth genuineness. Lubbock's Thrift Store Cowboys are that band, as comfortable in an indie club as a honky-tonk, edgy yet traditional. Call it experimental country. Take the band's "Dirtied Your Knees," off their latest album, Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, which kicks off with a drone-y banjo hum underlying the minimal plucking of another banjo. The effect is something like an orchestra warming up, until the tune eases its way into a rootsy midtempo rocker. "Sidewalk Song," meantime, evokes Mazzy Star as much as Merle Haggard, with its slow 3/4 time, luscious fiddle and high-gain, delayed guitar—proof there's more to Lubbock than dust devils and Bobby Knight.

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