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Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants, BT, and Guy Clark 

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click to enlarge All Hat and No Cattle

Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants

All Hat and No Cattle

Side One Dummy

File next to: Gary Allan, Jason & the Scorchers

The title of the Foo Fighters' lead guitarist and part-time honky-tonker Chris Shiflett's cover-heavy second album is somewhat telling. All Hat and No Cattle isn't exactly an authentic tribute to electrified Bakersfield country, but it's plenty of fun and will likely be a pleasing introduction to the genre for alt-rock fans. Shiflett and company crash through a deliriously spirited rendition of Don Rich's "Guitar Pickin' Man," do a cheeky approximation of the Jordanaires' harmonies on "Happy Part of Town," and turn in an anthemic version of Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" None of this feels terribly reverent, but it isn't a snide parody, either. The love of the source material is palpable, and the enthusiasm of the performances is undeniable. While not top shelf at the honky tonk, it will certainly make for an enjoyable evening. — Collin Estes

click to enlarge A Song Across Wires

BT

A Song Across Wires

Armada Music

File Next To: Tiesto, Tritonal, Late Night Alumni

DJ/composer/technologist Brian Transeau, aka BT, has done as much to advance dance music in the past 15 years as any other artist. After releasing rocktronica, classical, jazz-tinged and pop-flavored dance albums, he is back with A Song Across the Wires, his first full-on dance album in some time. "Skylarking" demonstrates his ability to create epic instrumental soundscapes; the propulsive beats and dubstep madness of "Tomahawk" are the stuff of ravers' dreams; and "City Life" surprises with the addition of Asian-style percussion and synths. BT shines as a lyricist and vocalist on "Love Divine," and his all-star list of guest vocalists — Jes, Emma Hewitt, Nadia Ali and Aqualung among others — all give great performances. BT has spent his career avoiding the thud-thud-thud-repeat style of dance music, and the results have been magical. A Song Across Wires is BT's latest master stroke. — Brian Palmer

click to enlarge My Favorite Picture of You

Guy Clark

My Favorite Picture of You

Dualtone Music

File next to: The Flatlanders, T Bone Burnett

Guy Clark is a venerable legend of country/Americana music, though not a name that comes to mind as quickly as, say, Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash. However, the 71-year-old Texan troubadour will hopefully win a new legion of fans with his latest album, My Favorite Picture of You. Like Cash's "American" series of recordings, it's a stately, stripped-down affair that reflects on Clark's life and career with haunting honesty and a ragged, tender heart. The title track and "Cornmeal Waltz" reminisce about Clark's late wife, "Hell Bent on a Heartache" is a bittersweet paean to repeated missteps, and "Heroes" is a stark, compassionate examination of PTSD which serves as a much-needed antidote to mainstream country's soppy takes on the subject. The brilliant songwriting is made richly compelling by Clark's leathery voice, which is well-worn but still infinitely expressive, with a sincerity that transcends genres. — Collin Estes

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