Pizza Box

Texas country rocker Danny Barnes likes to do wild things with his banjo — check out the explosive picking on his old band the Bad Livers' turbocharged hillbilly version of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life." Barnes' seventh solo album, Pizza Box, is a collection of banjo-based songs set against big rock ("Road"), Memphis-style horns ("Sparta, TN"), barnstorming juke-joint blues ("Misty Swan") and even a shuffling, hip-hop-style beat ("Sleep"). Barnes is a clever lyricist with a punk-rock past who understands the raw simplicity of a good country tune: The album's title track is a wistful ballad in which Barnes confesses in his sweet, vulnerable Texas drawl, "Basically it's so elemental/Us Southern boys are sentimental." Enough said.

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